Westport looks to name parking lot after war correspondent

The Board of Selectmen at their meeting on Wednesday. Taken Aug. 28, 2019 in Westport, CT.

The Board of Selectmen at their meeting on Wednesday. Taken Aug. 28, 2019 in Westport, CT.

Lynandro Simmons/Hearst Connecticut Media

WESTPORT — The parking lot at 36 Elm St. could have a new name in the not so distant future.

The Board of Selectmen on Wednesday unanimously approved naming the town-owned property in honor of Sigrid Schultz, an American reporter and war correspondent who lived in Westport.

Discussions about the name first sprung up when the new Elm Street lot was built last year.

“We began to talk and hear the story of a famous Westporter who lived on Elm Street — Sigrid Schultz,” said Dewey Loselle, chairman of the Downtown Plan Implementation Committee.

Schultz was among a select group of American correspondents to interview Hitler and exposed the Nazi’s persecution of Jews, Loselle said.

“She’s an amazing historical figure in Westport who played larger on the international stage,” he said.

Schultz lived in her Elm Street residence from 1939 until her death in 1980 and was active in the community. By naming the parking lot after Schultz, Loselle said the town would help to keep her name alive like other renowned Westporters.

“When I first came to Westport I had to say who was Baldwin? Who was Jesup? ... I learned the history of who they were,” Loselle said.

Don Bergmann, a Sherwood Drive resident, supported the initiative to rename the parking lot.

“The town has a brand and this is sort of part of that brand,” he said. “I think this is a terrific idea.”

First Selectman Jim Marpe said other members of the community have expressed their support of the initiative as well. The item will next appear before the Representative Town Meeting in October.

Coleytown consulting

At the same meeting, BOS members approved a consulting agreement between the town and Environment Services, Inc., who will oversee the environmental engineering services for the Coleytown Middle School building project.

John Broadbin, deputy director of Public Works, said Environment Services will help give assurance throughout the construction process and re-population of the building.

“They will demonstrate our ability to control the indoor air quality through their testing and results being published,” he said.

The industrial hygienist will also test materials — furniture, books, counter-tops and more — in the building for any contamination due to moisture. Broadbin said this will be used as guidance for what should be replaced in the building.

“With this independent consultant reporting directly to the owner we can run our own quality assurance, quality control measures both with empirical data and visual verification,” he said.

The consultants will also hold public hearings to assist in explanations to the community, with Marpe adding that the agreement was an important step.

“This is a vital step in convincing what might still be some skeptical members of the parent community,” he said.