To the Editor:

The Darien Times has played an important role in covering the debate over what should be done at Pear Tree Point Beach — repair of the existing structure or the construction of a major new building. This was a project that until recently was flying under the radar, but when details of the proposal became better known it became quite controversial. The Darien Times printed the arguments on both sides of the issue, served as a forum through the Letters to the Editor for citizens to express their point of view, and conducted an informal survey to help our elected representatives judge voter sentiment.

It now appears that First Selectman Jayme Stevenson is asking the project managers to step back and take a careful, studied look at the project as it was first proposed. She has acknowledged citizen concerns about the design and cost of the structure. Most of all, our First Selectman has said that the project will not proceed without the expert advice of engineers familiar with FEMA requirements and the challenges of building on shorefront property so exposed to normal weather cycles never mind severe storms. The town needs a better understanding of the full costs, including maintenance as well as realistic construction projections. Ms. Stevenson acknowledged the legitimate concerns of those who have had doubts about the project as originally conceived.

I am convinced that this prudent approach is the result not only of citizen involvement but also of the beneficial influence of a good local newspaper which can cover an issue in a responsible way. As so many local newspapers have disappeared, we are lucky to have The Darien Times.

Charles Salmans

Darien