I have been following your recent articles regarding the proposed renovation to Compo Beach and have some grave reservations about how this exploration is being pursued. I gather from a recent article that the Board of Finance completed its study and unanimously approved some kind of master plan, the details of which have not been included.
I believe Westport public opinion from frequent users of Compo Beach has largely been ignored. I hope a few members of the finance board are themselves frequent users, since that would help to inform the conclusions reached in what has been loosely called a "study."
I believe it was erroneous to have the study conducted by a design group. It may be too late in the process for me to suggest the following modus operandi, but here goes anyway. Under the finance board's over-arching direction, a contingent of 10 or more Westport residents should be convened to elicit public opinion and support for a variety of renovations. The committee would consider three or four plans, varying in scale (and price) and would then submit them to a couple of design firms for estimates for submission to the finance board. I won't get into more details of this process, except to say that it may take six months to reach some desirable conclusions. Clearly, $50,000 will not be enough to do more than to tear down old bathrooms and create new ones in their place, plus additional ones in another part of the beach. The design firms should heed the successful and not very extensive renovations completed on Weed Beach in Darien. Very pleasing to the eye and very efficient.
We must keep in mind that financial considerations are very important, however, Compo is a local treasure, and we would be wise to be sure that the final renovations add beauty and livability for the beach community and for Westport itself. I see no reason to be overly concerned about out-of-town users of our beach. We welcome them, however, the beach has been ruinously overcrowded these past few years, and that should be a legitimate concern going forward. The creation of Longshore was not done for financial reasons, and neither was Compo Beach nor Sherwood Island for that matter. These beautiful and local attractions tend to delight and enrich us all, and we have to amend them to be even better for our current and future generations. Short-term solutions are not the answer. And long-term financial gain is not the answer either. Renovating Compo Beach is a wonderful opportunity for us to bring Compo up-to-date and make it more convenient and efficient for all Westporters to continue to enjoy.