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Students mull over the future of the old YMCA


When the YMCA moved from its old home at 59 Post Road E. in downtown Westport to Mahackeno, the tudor building that it was once housed in was more than a vacant property.  It is a building full of memories for many students.

Many students, such as Griffin O’Neill ’17, have fond memories of the YMCA.

“I have a lot of good playing memories playing basketball at the old Y, and it holds a special place in my heart,” O’Neill said.  “I certainly hope they make great use of the building in its new life.”

Many students agreed that the building should remain standing, as it is a staple of downtown Westport.

“I think stores and restaurants, or cafes, should replace the old Y,” Lily Tofel ’17 said.  “But whatever they do, they should keep the building because of its character.”

While many students believe the building should be maintained, others think the destruction of it would be more beneficial for the town.

“I think it would be smart to put a small parking garage where the old YMCA was,” Jonathan Maragos ’16 said.  “There’s always parking issues downtown, especially at the holiday times, and a garage would really help out with the parking problems in Westport.”

Students also speculated, and expressed their opinions over the plan proposed by Bedford Square Associates regarding the old Y property and the adjoining former firehouse.

This plan would convert these buildings into a residential, retail and commercial area, accompanied by a public plaza.  The commercial aspect would include both stores and restaurants.

“I think this is a good idea,” Adam Katz ’17 said.  “There currently isn’t much in downtown Westport, and I think this change will definitely draw more people in.”

While the future of this historic building is being debated, students all agree on one thing for the old YMCA.

“Whatever the town does, tear down the building or leave it standing, Westport needs to make sure it benefits the town,” Kristina Wasserman ’17 said.  “It would be tragic if this space is wasted.”

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About the Contributor
Andrew Vester
Andrew Vester, Staff Writer
It’s a scorching afternoon in mid-July. The sun, sitting high above, has blanketed everything in an unbearable heat— most of us are lounging out by the pool, cool drink in one hand, half-liquid Popsicle in the other, seemingly dead to the world in our heat-induced lethargy. But Andrew Vester ’17 refuses to be slowed down. He’s out with his team, baseball in hand, preparing for his next game. In fact, that’s where he can be found for the vast majority of the year, even when winter sets in and most of us give up and accept our new cold-induced lethargy. “I try to play straight through the winter. At most I’ll take like a week or two break,” he says. Vester plays baseball on a travel team through the Summer and Fall, practices with his team in winter, and plays on the Staples team in the spring. For him, baseball is almost therapeutic—when he’s on the field, the outside stressors in his life melt away—much like our poolside popsicles—and Vester’s able to clear his mind of all things -- except the game. However, he’s not just your average jock. When not on the field, you can find him feet up, reading Leon Uris books, playing guitar and writing news stories.  

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