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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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Public forum on downtown plans set Saturday

Published 12:41 pm, Tuesday, June 3, 2014
  • A forum on the future of downtown, which will be used to help guide development of a new downtown master plan, is set for Saturday, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., at Bedford Middle School, 88 North Ave. Photo: Contributed Photo / Westport News
    A forum on the future of downtown, which will be used to help guide development of a new downtown master plan, is set for Saturday, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., at Bedford Middle School, 88 North Ave. Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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A workshop on the future of downtown will take place Saturday as part of the "Your Downtown" campaign.

The program is set from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Bedford Middle School, 88 North Ave.

The workshop will gather comments for preparation of the Downtown Westport Master Plan, according to First Selectman Jim Marpe.

"Westport residents, this is your downtown," the first selectman said in a press release. "Please mark your calendars to attend the June 7 workshop. This is a not-to-miss opportunity for you to participate in the process of determining how downtown evolves over the next 10 to 20 years."

The workshop will be visual and interactive so participants can discuss topics and share opinions with each other and make choices about what's appropriate for downtown, what might make it more successful and vibrant, and how it can better serve residents of all ages, Marpe said.

The main, interactive feature -- "Downtown 101: Streets, Buildings, Places" -- guides participants through a roundtable exercise in which they will view and discuss various elements and concepts for downtown.

Residents will have the opportunity to discuss the proposed ideas and rate their appeal or appropriateness to downtown, he added.

The workshop will also cover topics related to historic preservation in specific parts of downtown, which is at the heart of the Town's Village District Study. The Village District Study is being undertaken concurrently with the Downtown Master Plan.

Downtown Steering Committee Chairman Dewey Loselle said more than 700 residents have taken the Downtown Survey since it was launched online recently and encouraged those who cannot attend the workshop this Saturday to make sure they respond to the survey, which can be accessed through www.downtownwestportct.com.

"We are making a maximum effort to reach out and engage the Westport community and have set an ambitious goal of receiving 2,000 completed surveys which would be more than 10 percent of the adult citizens of Westport," Loselle said.

Residents can still take the downtown survey until mid-July.

The survey, as well as detailed information on events for the Downtown Master Plan, will be posted at www.downtownwestportct.com. Paper versions of the survey are located at Town Hall, the Westport Library and the Westport Center for Senior Activities.

Consultants from the RBA Group are preparing the master plan, under the committee's guidance.