[CT Birds] Seaside State Park information session

Comins, Patrick PCOMINS at audubon.org
Fri May 13 13:07:12 EDT 2016

This may be of interest to those in the SE corner of the state:

Public Information Meeting May 25 at Waterford Town Hall
to Discuss Master Plan for New State Park at Seaside
Master Plan includes potential reuse of historic buildings

Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and Administrative Services (DAS) - Division of Construction Services, will host a final public meeting on Wednesday May 25, at 6 p.m., in the Waterford town hall auditorium, 15 Rope Ferry Road, Waterford, to present the Master Plan for the establishment of a new state park at the former Seaside Regional Center.

The state agencies, along with Sasaki Associates, Inc., and the master planning firm of Oak Park Architects, LLC, will present the Master Plan, based upon the recommendations and interests expressed by the public throughout the master planning process, which began in January, 2015.
Since that time, feedback has been obtained through public meetings, surveys, and a dedicated website<http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&Q=557916&deepNav_GID=1650>.

An intensive analysis of the National Register-listed buildings to determine the market for adaptive re-use of the historic buildings was conducted by PKF Consulting, USA.  PKF Consulting conducted a feasibility study to determine whether market demand was sufficient for a public/private partnership to restore the buildings at Seaside as a state park lodge.  Their analysis indicates that a state park lodge of approximately 100 rooms and associated amenities such as a spa, meeting space, and restaurant would be attractive to the hospitality development community,  based upon anticipated growth and demand for lodging in the greater Waterford area.

The full PKF study can be found here<http://www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/stateparks/seaside/15-482BO-0071_-_Seaside_Redevelopment_Feasibility_Study_Report.pdf>.

The next steps in the process envisioned by DEEP include: a detailed review of the PKF report; an environmental analysis of the site as part of a more detailed planning process; and the potential for an RFP to solicit proposals from private parties for the build out and operation of a state park lodge.  There will be opportunities at various points in the process for further public comment and input.

In addition to the PKF study, results from the planning process and the redevelopment analysis have enabled planners to formulate recommendations for the 32 acre property, designated as a state park by Governor Dannel Malloy in September, 2014.  Since that time, park staff have continued to make operational improvements at the park. Enhancements have been made to improve site security and provide better access for passive recreation pending completion and implementation of the master plan.

DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen said, "After considerable community input we are ready to unveil the Master Plan for a new state park at Seaside.  Our plan offers increased public access to Long Island Sound and outdoor recreation opportunities for residents and the public.  It also envisions the preservation and adaptive re-use of the historic buildings on that site in a manner consistent with public access to it.  This is a unique opportunity to protect the scenic landscape and historic buildings at Seaside and to provide new opportunities for people to enjoy the outdoors."

Patrick M. Comins, Director of Bird Conservation, Audubon Connecticut
Phone: (203)405-9115  http://ct.audubon.org/
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