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Westport Teens Imagine More Vibrant Downtown

A movie theater, an arcade and a teen center are things Coleytown Middle School students like Scott Pecoriello would like to see in Westport.

As part of a project called "Eighth Grade Odyssey," dozens of students worked in teams and came up with comprehensive plans on how to make Westport more vibrant. Two of the five final teams shared their ideas with the Westport Planning and Zoning Commission during a special downtown revitalization public meeting Thursday night.

For Pecoriello and his team, the best way to go about building a better sense of community and making downtown livelier is to develop the west bank of the Saugatuck River.

"There are no restaurants or activities to attract people to the west bank," Pecoriello said.

To fix that, his group proposed developing a multi-building complex that would consist of a movie theater, two restaurants, an arcade, a teen center for people 21 and under, a kids center and a snack shop or bakery.

The theater would be similar to the Fairfield Community Theatre or Norwalk's Garden Cinema, Pecoriello said. Of the two restaurants, one would be more of a fine-dining establishment geared toward adults, and the other would be more causal, geared toward kids and families.

Like Pecoriello's team, Andrew Ippolito and his team believe that a movie theater and a teen center are key features missing from downtown. But their plans to breathe more life into downtown Westport also include two two-level parking structures, bike paths, a renovated boardwalk, mini-golf and a basketball court.

With regard to the parking structures, Ippolito and his team proposed an underground garage be built under the Baldwin parking lot, and an above-ground garage behind the police department.

Check back with The Daily Westport this afternoon to read what Westport adults want (and don't want) to see happen downtown.

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