WESTPORT — Curious about the plan to transform downtown Saugatuck? There’s a website for that.
The site, gatewayforwestport.com, outlines the nine-month planning process and emphasizes the importance of improving the entrance to town off of Exit 17, easier and more comfortable pedestrian access, improving infrastructure and attracting all ages — all while preserving the character of the community.
A way for residents to share their thoughts on the project — aside from attending the public meetings — is to fill out a short survey on the website. It allows residents to voice their priorities for Saugatuck, observations about what needs to be remedied or changed, and provides the option to select from a number of different street scapes and architectural designs.
Seth Shapiro, principal of Barton Partners and lead for the Saugatuck project, said the goal is improving the open space and cutting down on the amount of asphalt to make way for a more pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. He stressed “pedestrian comfort” and, “of course, the historic resources.” A thought he floated was to put Riverside Avenue “on a diet” and narrow it in order to make way for improved and wider sidewalks. The street would remain a one-lane road.
A nearby project on Railroad Place is not featured on Barton Partners’ site. However, there is another website for that.
A design, video and description of the private conceptual project is featured on Pete Romano’s LandTech website. Romano represents two families who privately own the majority of the property surrounding Railroad Place.
Members of the public have expressed interest in what role the master plan will have with regard to the Railroad Place project. The plan calls for a 3-acre space with a pedestrian plaza, a green market, restaurants, retail, apartments, offices, a movie theater, a hotel and parking for up to 450 vehicles.