Looking Back: Laurelwood plan, dog show ‘best’

A “continuous care community” for senior citizens was in the planning stages 25 years ago.

The Planning and Zoning Commission would conduct a public hearing on “Laurelwood continuous care retirement community,” the Feb. 20, 1992, Ridgefield Press reported.

“GWZ Development Group of Waltham, Mass., proposes a 120-bed nursing home, 140 congregate and assisted living units in one large structure, and 80 independent living units in townhouse and ville style freestanding structures.”

They ended up being built by different companies, but that project as it was ultimately approved can be seen today. The nursing home is Laurel Ridge Health Care Center; the congregate building is Benchmark Senior Living at Ridgefield Crossings; and the townhouses, built by Toll Brothers, are known as The Regency at Ridgefield.

Ridgeburians fighting the “golf community” proposed in their neck of the woods got a new public hearing scheduled. A photo showed one of three junked cars dumped near Shadow Lake — “long a teenage party spot,” the caption said — on the land in question. The town eventually bought the land where it was planned — paying $17.6 million for 252 acres in 1996, and then selling off a 59-lot subdivision for $11.6 million that became Stone Ridge Estates. The land around Shadow Lake is now mostly open space, and there is a ball field there.

“If you could nominate any one person for president, who would it be?” asked the roving “Spotlight” photographer. “Any blond girl, because she would be smarter than George Bush,” said Justin Massengale.

Jason Parkhurst upped that ante, answering: “Madonna — the rest of the presidents have been stupid anyway.”

“After death, mystery man puzzles Danbury police, hospital officials,” read a headline. “Danbury police are still puzzling over the identity of man who used a false RIdgefield address to check himself into the hospital, and died four days later,” the story said. “The man, who called himself Thomas Hughes, gave Danbury Hospital officials phony insurance information and a fake RIdgefield post office box number when he was admitted Feb. 7. Four days later, he experienced respiratory difficulty and died of an apparent heart attack. … He checked in without a wallet or any form of identification. He told hospital officials he was 34 years old. Police describe him as being about six feet tall and 270 pounds.”

50 Years Ago

“The Citizens Committee on Secondary Schools last week reviewed and accepted a feasibility report concerning Ridgefield High School, which stated the building could be converted to a 900-pupil junior high school but could not properly be converted into a 1,500-student senior high,” the Feb. 23, 1967, Press reported.

The Jaycees were preparing to announce “Ridgefield’s outstanding young man of the year” at a dinner at Girolmetti’s Restaurant, with Salvatore C. Monti running the event as master of ceremonies.

“Francis T. Dolen has filed with the Planning and Zoning Commission a strongly worded dissent from the decision to liberalize the regulations governing the floating zone for laboratories and light industry,” a page one story reported.

Dolen lambasted his colleagues, writing: “In return for an uncertain promise of tax revenue” the commission had “disregarded its own extensive knowledge of good zoning. …

“To allow manufacturing uses in residential land is a violation of the true spirit and intent of zoning.”

Sound familiar? Anyone on West Mountain?

“Aroi Swinging the Blues, a greyhound owned by Mrs. Julie B. F. Singleton of St. John’s Road, was judged the best greyhound in the Westminster Kennel Show. …

“Mrs. Singleton actually specializes in raising standard poodles,” the story added. “Aroi is her only greyhound.”