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Questions Surround Vitality, Use of Downtown Westport

A local business manager, resident and elected official explain why downtown Westport is not a destination for Westporters.

As Westporters eye a , elected officials, business owners and residents weigh in on downtown’s vitality.

“I think it is perfectly reasonable for people to not consider downtown Westport as part of their lives,” says State Representative Jonathan Steinberg.

Downtown Westport could be a destination for Westporters, though; a change that could be made without turning Westport into Stamford or White Plains, according to Steinberg.

“What is the incentive to get downtown, park your car and leave it for a few hours?” Steinberg says.

John Zervos, assistant manager at Tavern on Main, agreed that downtown does not serve as a lively destination for Westporters.

“It could be revitalized, but it is a tough town to get anything that is going to attract people’s eyes,” Zervos says.

“Look at Fairfield, they have everything down there,” Zervos says, noting locals are more inclined to walk around Fairfield compared to Westport. “There is just nowhere to go on your feet after dinner. Where is there to go but home?”

While Zervos wishes Westport would provide something to attract the older and younger crowd at the same time, Steinberg simply wants there to be conversations and communication regarding the future of downtown Westport.

Maria Karlsson, a new Westport resident who moved from Sweeden, says everything in Westport is far more spread out compared to Europe, where downtown areas are more concentrated.

“Here, everything is spread out on Post Road,” Karlsson says.

The Westport Chamber of Commerce was unavailable for comment. Planning and Zoning Amendment 639 will be discussed at town hall Thursday night.

William Scalzi October 19, 2011 at 04:40 PM
I never go downtown, There is nothing there but chain stores. I would rather go to a mall. Downtown Westport has been lost to greed I have been a Westport & Weston resident for the past forty years and I miss the good old days of the beautiful, quaint, downtown Westport
Chris October 21, 2011 at 04:51 PM
Downtown only seems to cater for bored housewives who want to shop and have the money to do so. Very little else seems to be going on down there. Shame as I hear it used to be a great place to be.
E Thibault October 21, 2011 at 08:48 PM
The Westport Pizzeria, Oscar's Deli, Tavern on Main, or Bobby Q's are all fantastic examples of locally owned businesses that still exist on Main Street, within the confines of existing structures. I'm employed full time outside the home, am a mother to a young child, and enjoy the occasional shopping trip downtown. However, I'm not going to buy shampoo down there. We need businesses that fit out lifestyles there, and many Westporters are those who stayed or moved here to raise families. We don't need a cavern on Church and Elm streets, we don't need a parking garage and more paved area downtown, and the folks who live adjacent to the space certainly don't want to see the transition zoning disappear, only to see the area suddenly go from a residential to highly commercial/urban. If the developer cannot make this happen, then perhaps this isn't the right area/time for him to be attempting this change.
Gary October 23, 2011 at 02:28 PM
One of the largest outdoor upscale malls in Connecticut. We need some upscale (fake) outlet stores to fill out the picture. It isn't even a great location for some major retailers. Many have closed. Maybe some more banks would round things out. Oh the impact on traffic has been minimal and I am sure there has been no increase in traffic accidents in the past 10 years. There is no reason to revitalize downtown Westport, we have Fairfield!

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