The Downtown 2020 Committee will hold three Town Hall public meetings later this month to allow three design firms to share their visions for central Westport.
These three consultants were among seven design firms that responded to the committee's "request for proposals" to prepare a master plan for the downtown area. After the panel selects one of the consultants, its efforts to hire the firm to puts its plans in motion then must be approved be a series of town boards and commission.
The following schedule has been set for the forums:
Peter J. Smith & Co. of Buffalo, N.Y., will present its proposal at 7 p.m. July 22; RBA Group of Connecticut, LLC, which has an office in Norwalk, will appear at 7 p.m. July 24, and Milone & MacBroom, which has an office in Cheshire, is set for 7 p.m. July 31.
The public will have an opportunity to provide feedback at the meetings.
The master plan is a top goal for the Downtown 2020 panel, appointed in March 2012 by First Selectman Gordon Joseloff. Its group has advocated that a master plan is needed to coordinate a number of major capital projects planned for the town center, which include:
• Redevelopment of the Westport Weston Family Y's property as the multi-use complex known as Bedford Square.
• Construction of a senior residential complex at Baron's South.
• "Transformation" of the Westport Public Library's building
• Construction of a movie theater adjacent to the Main Street restaurant Tavern on Main.
• Construction of a new Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts on the east bank of the Saugatuck River.
• Relocation of the Westport Arts Center to Jesup Green.
Downtown 2020 Committee Chairman Lou Gagliano has said the three design firms are all qualified to undertake the master plan, and the three submitted plans are similar in cost -- $168,945 for Peter J. Smith, $178,500 for RBA and $185,000 for Milone & MacBroom.
The committee has not yet received a commitment of town funding for the proposal. The group, however, has raised more than $65,000 in private funding for the project, and Gagliano has said the panel will ask the Board of Finance and the Representative Town Meeting to fund the remaining portion.