Re: "Cinema backers zoom in on site" (Aug. 1). I'm trying to figure out the main reason that the Westport public would want to contribute $4 million to build a new cinema on an empty parking lot off Main Street.

Could it be that the public feels grossly underserved by the 17 movie screens in nearby Norwalk? Or the 18 screens in nearby Fairfield? Or the movies frequently shown at the Westport Library?

Could it be that they remember fondly the recent years when Westport had five movie screens of its own (all now closed because they couldn't make a profit)? Or are they sad that film lovers in neighboring Fairfield resurrected their own failed cinema recently, only to see it fail again and now sit on the market?

Could it be that they are unsatisfied by the widespread availability of movies on CD from Netflix and Walmart and on home TV screens from innumerable sources available on demand? Are they angry at the resulting national decline in movie theater revenues?

The Westport Cinema Initiative says that the theater would be "a cultural magnet to Downtown Westport" and "help invigorate the evening scene in the town center." Of course, we already have a theater in Westport that isn't fully utilized, which perhaps they could use to show their "independent films." It's called the Westport Country Playhouse. Or, in the summer they could share the Levitt Pavilion.

Or maybe we should just forget about the whole idea.

Robert Beeby

Westport