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Westport Tees Up Plans for New Halfway House

WESTPORT, Conn. – A dilapidated carnival trailer — that's how Mark Holod referred to the food trailer in the middle of Westport's Longshore Club Park golf course.

Propped up by cinderblocks, the trailer has served as a substitute halfway house, a quick-stop spot  where golfers can grab a bite to eat. It was put there after the majority of the original structure burned down in 2003. But Holod, chairman of the 9th ½ Hole Committee, said the trailer was meant only to be a temporary solution, not an eight-year fixture.

"The floor [of the trailer] is starting to give way," said Holod. "It should have been replaced years ago. In an ideal world, a new halfway house would have been built in 2004. But the town had no money to do it. Then, in 2008 when the world economy changed, there was no money for anything."

That's why the 9th ½ Hole Committee, a subcommittee of the nonprofit charitable organization Friends of Westport Parks & Recreation, is raising funds for a new 750-square-foot halfway house that will serve as a permanent replacement.

The new halfway house will feature a concession area, complete with a kitchen and grill — allowing for new foods, such as hamburgers — restrooms, and a patio.

"Right now, there's nowhere in the center of the course to get away from the rain," said Holod. "The new halfway house will serve as a safe haven for golfers and everyone else that uses the park, like walkers, joggers and bikers."

The project is expected to cost  $225,000 and will be funded entirely through private donations, Holod said. Since fundraising efforts were launched this spring, a confirmed $116,000 has been raised, with help from the Longshore Women's and Men's Golf Associations as well as other volunteers. Holod estimates a total of $125,000 has been raised since a successful fundraiser was held last weekend.

Holod said his committee hopes to raise the rest of the money by September, so construction can begin. The goal, he said, is to have the building completed for the opening of the 2012 season. If you'd like to make a donation, visit the Friends of Westport Parks & Recreation website .

"Longshore is the crown jewel of Westport," said Holod. "We deserve to have a much more aesthetically pleasing building in the middle of the course."

What do you think of the plans for the new halfway house?

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