Tag Archives: Westport Rehabilitation Complex

Catching Up With The P&Z

Two of Westport’s most important town bodies meet on Monday nights.

This week, the Board of Education’s “banned books” kerfuffle grabbed the local (and Fox News national) spotlight.

But the Planning & Zoning Commission was busy too.

Recent action includes:

Allowing a change of use from “Group Home for Youth” to “Special Needs Housing,” and granting permission to renovate Susie’s Place, the Project Return building on Compo Road North, next to the Town Farm tennis courts. It will transition from an emergency shelter to supportive housing for young women ages 18 to 24.

With longer stays they’ll be able to access more services, including education, jobs and social work. And the building’s 6 units — owned and administered by Homes with Hope — will be added to Westport’s overall affordable housing stock.

Project Return’s “Susie’s House,” on North Compo Road.

Adopting a text amendment that will permit expansion and redevelopment of the current Westport Rehabilitation Complex (formerly “Mediplex”) on Post Road West, across Burr Street from Kings Highway Elementary School, into a medical facility specializing in the care of Alzheimer’s, dementia and/or other memory impairments.

The decision paves the way for conversion to a memory care facility with 68 patients, nearly half the 120 in the current nursing home. That will lead in turn to fewer staff members and visitors.

Westport Rehabilitation Complex.

Granting permission to Birchwood Country Club to build 3 pickleball courts. That’s down from the original 5 — and the location is further from neighbors than in the original plan.

The P&Z also discussed a larger project: The Hamlet at Saugatuck. That retail, residential, restaurant and hotel proposal requires a text and map amendment.

After a discussion of issues including height, the board did not vote. They’ll continue examining the plan at either their regular October 24 meeting, or a special session next month.

More Post Road Changes: Kowalsky Out, Assisted Living In

In the 1940s, Joe, Paul and Ed started Kowalsky Brothers Construction Company. Their headquarters was on the Post Road, where Westport Hardware is today.

In the 1960s they moved across the street, to the former site of Patio.com in the Fresh Market shopping center.

A decade later they moved again: down the Post Road, just east of what was then Parsell’s Garden Mart (and later, Geiger’s).

Kowalsky Brothers headquarters, 1141 Post Road East.

Kowalsky Construction — now owned by Jay and Edward, the 2nd generation — is once again relocating.

This time, it’s much further: to Stratford. They need more room than their current 5.4 acres. A spot near I-95 exit 30 is perfect.

Kowalsky — you don’t need the rest of the company name — has been part of the Westport community for nearly 80 years.

They built Parker Harding Plaza, behind Main Street. (Evan Harding — who helped plan the project — was friends with Joe Kowalsky.)

The company dredged and built Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club. Every year, they provide the trucks and manpower to prepare Compo Beach for the summer.

After Hurricane Sandy slammed Westport in 2012, CL&P trucks were scarce. But Kowalsky Brothers was out early, clearing Compo Beach and environs.

“We’ve done literally hundreds of projects — parking lots, roadways, you name it,” Jay says.

Kowalsky gives back plenty too. They provide many of the flatbed trucks that serve as floats in the Memorial Day parade. When floats were a thing at Staples High School Homecoming, they donated those too.

“We’ll still bid on jobs here,” Jay promises.

Right now, they’re excavating the new apartment complex across from Greens Farms Elementary School — next door to their soon-to-be-vacated headquarters.

Those apartments are a visible symbol of a changing Westport.

So is what will move in when Kowalsky moves out.

The new owner — LCB Senior Living of Boston — is building an assisted living facility.

It will be 3 stories high, 97,194 square feet, and have 96 rooms.

If you think this fills a need in Westport: You’re right. The most recent senior facility in town is Westport Rehabilitation Complex next to Kings Highway Elementary School, clear across town.

Originally called Mediplex, it opened in 1964.

Kowalsky Construction has always been a good neighbor. For years, they’ve maintained the handsome garden at the Sherwood Island Connector, around the corner from their headquarters.