Amid tide of criticism, Compo Beach planners suggest options
The Compo Beach Site Improvement Committee on Wednesday presented its final draft proposal with conceptual plans for changes being considered for the shorefront park.
"Because we have had mixed feedback" on the changes, two options have been proposed, said committee Chairman Andy Moss.
He said the reconfiguration of the beach parking area "provoked the most controversy" and that criticism is addressed in one of the options. The reconfiguration had been suggested for the safety of pedestrians.
He said he believes the committee has reached "a reasonable compromise" on the issue, raised by a crowd of more than 50 residents who attended a standing-room-only meeting of the committee in April.
The majority of those attending that meeting left no doubt that they opposed the parking changes that would restrict direct access to the beach. In particular, they did not want the "head -in" parking spaces eliminated at South Beach.
Option A of the draft proposal, Moss said, would include a pedestrian walkway directly next to the beach, while Option B would retain the parking beachside at South Beach as it now is.
"Other major improvements would be the relocation of the entrance to a four-way intersection at Bradley Street," Moss said. The park entrance would separate day-pass users from those with resident passes. "This will improve traffic flow on Compo and Bradley on busy days," he said.
There will also be a "more formal entrance for pedestrians," as well as the addition of several crosswalks and a marina promenade.
Moss said there will also be "exercise stations" at different sites in the park.
If changes are approved, work would be done in four phases: First, the entry way, then the bath house area, followed by overall site improvements and finally the marina and camp buildings. Overall cost for the improvements is "roughly $7 million," said Moss.
Resident Phyllis Groner, one of about 20 attending Wednesday's meeting, questioned why the parking reconfiguration is still under consideration since there hasn't been "anyone hit by a car in the past 10 years."
But George Franciscovich, committee member, said he was almost hit by a car at the park Tuesday. He said he runs there every morning. "I was even wearing a bright neon shirt," he said. "I know from personal experience there are lots of close calls there."
"Just because nothing has happened is not a reason not to make it safer there," Moss added.
Jim Lothrop of Lothrop Associates, a White Plains-based architectural design firm, that is preparing a master plan for the park improvements, presented several options for the upgrade of the bath house, which was damaged during Superstorm Sandy.
One option is to build a new, higher structure with an elevated lifeguard station that would be approximately the same size as the existing facility. Lothrop didn't have the dimensions, but did say it would cost about $4,085,000 to build, "two times the cost of just doing minimal upgrades" to the facility.
Moss said the draft proposal for site improvements will be referred to a special meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission in July. No date has been set yet for that meeting, he added.