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Downtown 2020 Committee Appointed to Improve Downtown Westport

First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff announced that he has appointed the Downtown 2020 Committee.

The mission of the committee will be and environs that offers diverse entertainment, dining, and recreational, residential and business opportunities, according to the committee's mission statement.

The committee’s charge is to advance the recommendations established by the Downtown Subcommittee of the Plan Implementation Committee (DPIC).  The DPIC was formed as recommended by the 2007 Town Plan of Conservation and Development, which was approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission.

The Downtown 2020 Committee will also develop other suggested changes to achieve its goals and continue to work with the DPIC with the added purpose of implementing their recommendations.  The committee will work closely with the Planning & Zoning Commission, other town boards and commissions, staff, outside stakeholders, and the public.  It will adhere to required public reporting requirements as an official town body.

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Westport resident Louis Gagliano has been appointed chair of the committee.  He is a retired business executive with substantial experience in planning efforts both in the corporate, not-for-profit, and community areas.

Other members appointed to the committee include Gerry Kagan, Robert Jacobs, Dan Kail, Valerie Smith-Malin, Jeffrey Mayer, and Craig Rebecca Schiavone. Want more information about the committee members? Take a look at their background information here.

“Our committee looks forward to working with other town groups and members of our community to accomplish the Missionapproved by the Selectman’s Office,” said Gagliano.

 “It is our intention to be a coordinating body which will integrate efforts, existing and approved projects, to bring greater vitality to our downtown area,” he said.

 

Committee objectives:

  • Review and prioritize the DPIC recommendations, meeting with stakeholders as necessary.
  • Schedule public forums that help identify areas of concern and potential regulatory changes that work towards the overall mission.  Should it deem necessary, the committee will recommend retention of outside consultants and aid in preparation of an RFP document to secure their services.
  • The committee will consider the establishment of an Economic Development Corporation or similar body that would be responsible for promotion and implementation of recommendations of DPIC or other identified projects.
  • The committee will also consider the need for a staff economic director and review the justification for such a position and build consensus for a search and hiring process.
  • The committee will consider discrete areas for a char retting exercise or similar planning method with members of the community, and work with town bodies, staff and relevant stakeholders in planning those exercises.
  • As part of its work, committee members may visit communities where such exercises have taken place as well as other communities that have developed revitalization efforts for their downtown areas.
  • Working with stakeholders, the committee will develop specific recommendations to help attract businesses to Westport’s downtown and environs.  These may include beautification suggestions as well as those that improve public access.
Paul Rossi March 15, 2012 at 10:47 AM
Finally! Bravo Mr. Joseloff. I had recommended that Westport form an economic development commission based on my experience working with similar bodies in Monroe and Fairfield. Glad to see we are moving in the right direction. Paul Rossi RTM D 5
patricia sinclair March 16, 2012 at 11:00 AM
It would be nice to see more seating scattered around the downtown area. Rest and Rec, after all should be encouraged. Especially that we such a beautiful water setting. Also whilst out shopping it would encourage shoppers to stay a while and take a breather and enjoy the environs.
mark holod March 20, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I'm cutious as to why there are no downtown merchants on the committee. Sinc they have much to gain from this initiative, their input and energy could be highly productive. Mark Holod
Susan March 22, 2012 at 01:00 PM
I would like to see more "evenings on Main" during the summer-bands performing, other entertainment, some shops could perhaps stay open a bit later if possible- a community gathering. Then many people would stroll downtown and perhaps have dinner afterwards. Obviously, it would have to be weather related. They do this year round in many communities with main streets in Florida and it's really a lively scene.

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