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Westport talks revitalization plans

Margaret Irwin, Principal with River Street Planning and Development does a presentation for the Westport community for the revitalization plan.

Margaret Irwin, Principal with River Street Planning and Development does a presentation for the Westport community for the revitalization plan. Photo by Katherine Clark.

— More than 70 people came out to learn the results of the town’s recently completed economic revitalization strategy.

The meeting was held at the town hall on Nov. 19 with members of River Street Planning & Development (RSPD).

“We should have done it at the school where we had more space, we didn’t know if we’d have five people or 100,” Westport Supervisor Dan Connell said.

Connell said the large crowd was exactly what the committee needed to make sure their voices were represented.

“Normally with these kind of meetings you just never know, we had seven people here for the budget meeting,” Connell said. “It’s important to hear from the people.”

Margaret Irwin, Principal with RSPD, did a presentation which highlighted the 120 page report they gave to the town committee.

“Don’t worry, I will not be reading every page,” Irwin said. “River Street Identified 10 projects, any one of those projects can be implemented immediately.”

Of the 10 projects, three were chosen as the most important for the revitalization of Westport and further explained in Irwin’s presentation.

The three included Main Street revitalization, revitalization of the fairgrounds and focusing on an arts-based economy.

Priority projects included: petition for the Heritage House as a new Westport arts hub; evaluate different uses for the fairgrounds; implement a downtown marketing program; create attractive town gateways; waterfront bike/pedestrian trails; implement plans to attract small businesses; attract a brand name hotel; expansion of the industrial park; consider new or improved housing on the golf course site; and develop year round attractions.

“Trails in regards to recreation, the arts, food, heritage, historic preservation, beginning to look at mapping out those trials and where are places that are hubs for that kind of activity,” Irwin said. “Those are the kinds of things that play on the Adirondack experience people are looking for.”

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