Today's Westport residents would barely recognize their town's Main Street from 150 years ago. In the mid-19th century, the town was characterized by its agricultural and maritime roots. However, in the beginning of the 20th century, Westport became an early New York "bedroom community," with an economy reoriented on commercial and cultural activities. New residents included a steady influx of artists and writers who helped shape Westport's unique artistic character during the latter half of the 20th century.
Downtown expanded as car travel became more popular, permanently changing the streetscape. Once a local village center, many locally-owned businesses have largely been replaced by chain stores.
In response to decades of unbridled change to Downtown, in 2013, the Town convened a committee to develop a comprehensive master plan for the area. The process culminated in the 2015 adoption of the Downtown Master Plan, which will steer development, investment, and critical decision-making in the 21st century.
The Downtown Master Plan is a strategy for addressing the many issues residents and experts have identified as needing to be improved while maintaining and enhancing Westport's unique character and beauty. It is also an attempt to help guide future zoning and growth, and make sure that everything we do is in keeping who we are as a community.