The next time you're in Westport, no matter where you are, take a good look around. What was once a countryside filled with locals and easy-going people is now a thriving region of real estate being bought up by rich out-of-towners.

Westport is changing and its roots are beginning to fade away. Every square inch of woodland area is being eyeballed by wealthy business folk who are building multimillion dollar properties that are turning this small town community into a financial statement.

Some folks like myself who are looking to someday purchase property in the town they were raised in will be going upon against the prosperity of commercialism. The price of real estate will continue to climb until one day the ratio of locals to "skukes" (a person who vacations in Westport for the summer, but is not from here) will be minimal.

Our farms are falling by the wayside. Let's face it, in a world chockfull of technology and computer careers, who in their right mind would want to pursue a back-breaking job like farming? That alone is a huge problem in the world, not just here in Westport.

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Think about what brings the entirety of the town's history together. The Westport Fair? The Fourth of July parade? Yes, it's nice to see vintage and antique tractors and vehicles, but when the time comes for that generation to move on, the youth isn't going to find interest in what traditions are left.

New construction is around every bend, slowly cutting back the wood line that once covered Westport like a quilt. Quite sad if you ask me, but I'm not the one with money. However, it shouldn't be viewed from that standpoint. The price of Westport and its quaint-yet-friendly community should automatically be categorized as priceless, but to the rich and mighty, it's nothing more than dollar signs and a scenic investment.

How long until the town turns into Dartmouth with fast food chains and coffee shops at every intersection? Mom-and-pop shops, for the most part, still dominate Westport, but how much longer until they're persuaded and bought out by a wealthy conglomerate?

All I'm trying to say to anyone who lives in Westport is to never forget your roots. Never forget what this town use to be and where we've ended up. The music booster club alone has been struggling to stay alive since 2003 and instead of dumping some money into that empty pot, it's getting shifted into a different direction. Taxes are constantly climbing, yet I see no change besides a new school system.

I like that "old-timey" way of life, where it was acceptable to take a Sunday drive where you may or may not get stuck behind a tractor. A time when playing outside as a kid was some of the best memories as corn fields were the best hiding spots for a game of manhunt or hide-and-seek. Pep rallies before cell phones, clambakes and roadside farm stands where locals would sell their share of their homegrown gardening.

Westport is a way of life and I can see the popularity of wanting to move to this small town of nearly 16,000, but please don't take away the simpler times. It's one of the reasons I'm volunteering this year for the Westport Fall Fair, because nobody is interesting in putting in the work. Sadly, the rich are moving in and tradition is taking the back road out.

I said what I said.

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