Many RTM members saw the $6.7 million appropriation -- based on what the Levitt brings to downtown Westport and the community; however, some members of the RTM and the public had their reservations.
Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff addressed the RTM and called the $1.1 million investment a ‘good deal for the town taxpayers.’
“Practically two generations of Westporters have grown up having the Levitt as a vital town recourse,” he said, adding that it has been the crown jewel of Westport, something that ranks with Compo Beach and the Library.
“Some people have asked, ‘Why the Levitt?’ The answer is, the timing is right,” Joseloff said about the town contributing $1 million .
Joseloff said the new facility would be ‘iconic’ when people refer to Westport.
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District 4 RTM member Jeffrey Weiser wanted to confirm that the town would only be on the hook for $1.1 million, which is exactly the case. Levitt Board spokesman Kenneth Bernard confirmed that any additional costs would be on the shoulders of the Levitt Pavilion and not the town.
Westport Parks and Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy confirmed that the town would be liable for roughly $23,000 per year following the construction for things like utilities, winterizing the buildings and maintaining the grounds.
Former RTM member and Westport resident of 72 years Michael Gioberte had his reservations about the project.
"I don’t know what the $6.7 million is going to build, but whatever it’s going to build, it is going to be built on a dump,” he said. “Not only do I consider it a dump, but I consider it a toxic time bomb.”
He explained that when that landfill was built there were no restrictions about what could be dumped there.
“Down the road it will either have to be taken away or have to be completely redone again to a much larger cost,” he said of the Levitt.
One concern that RTM member Louis Mall raised was about the $1.45 million being spent on the entry pavilion, something that is not currently part of the Levitt layout.
Other members like Matthew Mandell and Velma Heller shined a more positive light on the pavilion. Mandell said that he and his family attended both Levitt events this past week. During the first event Mandell said his family ordered take-out from Matsu Suchi and on the second performance they called Joe’s Pizza -- something families frequently do when the visit the Levitt Pavilion.
Heller questioned Westport’s vision and values.
“We’re talking about a valuable asset for our town,” Heller said. “It is to the benefit to us, and people in the future that we follow through on that vision.”