The What: This Week in Southwest Connecticut

The What is your look around southwest Connecticut for the week of February 20.

The What: This Week in Southwest Connecticut
Hope you all have a great (short) week! (Photo by Kelly Prinz)

Tuesday, February 20

Happy Tuesday! Hope you all enjoyed the long weekend. 

This week, following the recent snowstorms, we noticed that many sidewalks around the region hadn’t been cleared, making it hard for pedestrians to get around. So we decided to explore who’s in charge of removing snow from the sidewalks, and how residents can report issues if they face a sidewalk covered in snow or ice days after a storm. 

Check our piece or watch our video on why cleaning sidewalks is important. 

We also explored the future of “The Vines,” the nickname for the 700 to 800-foot sculpture along West Avenue in Norwalk. The piece, which is officially called “Gateway to Norwalk,” hangs along the concrete walls and is made up of twisted metal that is meant to resemble vines that include words and phrases in multiple languages

The sculpture went up in 2016, and now the Norwalk Arts and Cultural Commission—which was not involved in the original installation—has been asked to decide on its future. The Redevelopment Agency initially commissioned the piece to create something “welcoming, inviting, and noticeable,” Sabrina Godeski, the city’s director of business development and tourism, told the commission in January 2023. 

But removing the piece has opened up a series of questions for the Commission, including what does “decommissioning a piece of art” look like? Learn more about the history of the piece, as well as what options the Commission is exploring and how this piece could set a precedent in the city. You can also check out our video and see what “The Vines” currently look like.

Let’s see what else is happening this week.


On Wednesday, February 21, the Land Use & Urban Redevelopment Committee will meet at 7 p.m. and review a request to close the part of Garden Street north of Dock Street and connect the two adjacent properties to help facilitate redevelopment in the area. This street is located just a few blocks south of the Stamford Transportation Center and is part of the plans to redevelop the area. Learn more about the work taking place in and around the Stamford Transportation Center in our latest All Aboard piece. 

The Parks and Recreation Committee will meet on Thursday, February 22 at 6:30 p.m. and review a contract for $250,000 to create a Stamford Coastal Resiliency Plan. According to city officials this work will include: “data collection and analysis, modeling, identification of critical infrastructure and analysis of the urban tree canopy, extensive community engagement; preliminary conceptual plans including cost benefit analysis and identification of potential grant and funding opportunities.” Learn more about how communities along the coast are working on resiliency efforts

Other meetings this week include:


The Planning and Zoning Commission will meet on Wednesday, February 21 at 6 p.m. and hold a public hearing on the application for Phase 1 of the North Seven proposed development near the Merritt 7 train station. The plans call for a 12-story, 266 dwelling-unit, mixed-use building, including more than 8,000 square feet of retail, a “town square” space, and a dog park.  Learn more about the proposed plans for the area around the Merritt 7 train station through our All Aboard series.  

Other meetings this week include: 


The Board of Finance will meet on Tuesday, February 20 at 7:30 p.m. to review a request from the Chief Fiscal Officer to transfer $500,000 to the Legal Department to cover the unanticipated costs of the UI case, plus the additional costs for legal expenses, expert fees, and lobbyist fees. Learn more about UI’s proposal for updating transmission lines through the town and why officials and residents are opposed to it.

Other meetings this week include: 


The Board of Selectmen will meet on Tuesday, February 20 at 10 a.m. discuss the outdoor dining regulations for 2024 and review a request to refer the plans for the new Dorothy Hamill Rink to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Other meetings this week include:


The Great Island Advisory Committee will meet on Wednesday, February 21 at 6 p.m. and discuss potential early access for residents to the site.

Other meetings this week include: 


First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker issued a statement last week in response to allegations parents raised at the Board of Education meeting that their children experienced racism in Westport Public Schools. According to a report from ABC 7, parent Carole Felder said that during a play rehearsal, her seventh grader "had a prop gun pointed to the back of her head,” and another student said, “this is what happens to people your color.” 

“It is with shock and disappointment that I listen to the devastating comments made by parents at the Board of Education meeting this week,” Tooker said in a statement. “I want the residents and business owners to know there is no place for any form of hate in Westport. There is no place for racism in Westport. Our community strongly rejects hate in all forms.”

Tooker said that the town will keep working to “create a supportive environment.”

“We must all stand together and speak clearly and unequivocally on this issue. We should demand accountability,” she said. “Westport has my unwavering commitment to continue to work with local leaders, including TEAM Westport and the school administration, to create a supportive environment where we, as Superintendent Tom Scarice said, treat each other with dignity and respect. We all want to feel like we belong. Every one of us deserves to feel valued. When one of us is harmed, we are all harmed.”

Meetings this week include: 

Please note: All of these agendas and information here are current as of Sunday night. Meeting times and agendas may get adjusted throughout the week.

Thank you for reading! 

If you are interested in being a part of our reporting or just want to share your thoughts, please reach out at

Have a great week,

Kelly Prinz

Founder, Reporter at Coastal Connecticut Times