Photo by Graham Day '21
Downtown Westport is an area filled with clothing stores, restaurants and other adult-friendly destinations. There is one thing missing from downtown Westport that would create a place where people of all ages would enjoy. That’s where Randy Herbertson and the Downtown Merchants Association (DMA) and Westport Moms hope to help.
Plans for a playground to be built in Bedford Square are in the works as the DMA and Westport Moms push for an accessible year-round playground. The playground would be built in the summer of 2020 as the plan still needs to be voted and approved on.
“Part of our overall thing is to get people to continue to come downtown,” Herbertson said. “Remember what’s here, and what a great experience it is with all the improvements we have been doing.”
Megan Post and Megan Brownstein, the founders of the organization, Westport Moms, started their quest for a new playground five years ago. Westport Moms was created for new families looking for a one-stop website, reporting on family-related issues.
“Megan and I found ourselves struggling to find playgrounds during school hours that were accessible for a weekday or weekend activity [and] meetups with other parents and kids,” Post said.
The DMA and Westport Moms feel that while there are playgrounds in Westport, Bedford Square would be easy and convenient for all. The playground at Compo Beach isn’t as ideal during the colder, winter months and the playgrounds at Westport Public Schools are often in use and not very accessible.
“We believe that giving people, especially young families, another reason to come to town will keep our amazing businesses flourishing,” Post said. “And ensure [that] our children and their children can enjoy the Westport we know and love.”
The playground would create increased foot traffic in Bedford Square, which would hopefully benefit downtown businesses.
“It would be a wonderful addition to the downtown experience, drawing a key demographic of shoppers [and] parents with younger kids,” Herbertson said.
Funds are essential for projects like this one, and the Westport Moms will host their second annual Local Love fundraiser to raise money for the playground. This event will feature an option to get a plaque on the playground in exchange for a donation to the project.
Herbertson added that the DMA would continue their involvement in the project.
“We are very involved in the development of this idea,” Herbertson said, “and will also likely maintain it, should we be successful with our fundraising efforts.”