July 3, 2013
Governor Malloy Tours Connecticut State Parks
Continued Investment in Park System Important to Tourism, Economy
In advance of the July 4th holiday, Governor Dannel P. Malloy today toured Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Indian Well State Park in Shelton, and Black Rock State Park in Thomaston with Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel C. Esty. The Governor highlighted the importance of continued investments to improve the state park system and encouraged residents to get outside and enjoy a state park over the weekend.
“Connecticut has a tremendous network of 107 state parks and 32 state forests that offer a range of outdoor activities for families,” said Governor Malloy. “We continue to make strong investments in our state park system, expand programs and services, and modernize infrastructure. Our parks are an important economic engine and these investments ensure that they remain an attractive destination and add to the quality of life we enjoy in our state. Over the holiday I hope residents head to a state park for some quality time outside—swimming, hiking, fishing, boating, or simply taking some time to relax and appreciate Connecticut’s natural resources.”
At Hammonasset, the Governor pointed to investments for a new $1.4 million Meigs Point Nature Center and a $5.8 million bathhouse at West Beach. Both projects are now in the design phase. The nature center will offer expanded programs for visitors and will be built in cooperation with the Friends of Hammonasset. It will include alternative energy features such as geothermal heating and cooling, as well as photovoltaic panels to generate electricity. The West Beach Bathhouse will replace a bathhouse that was severely damaged by Tropical Storm Irene.
At Black Rock State Park, Governor Malloy saw four camping cabins that are among 100 being built at state parks across the state to expand the variety of camping opportunities available to families. Twenty-two cabins have already been constructed and made available to campers and funding for the remainder has been approved by the State Bond Commission.
Other investments include:
- A $3 million renovation of the main pavilion at Sherwood Island, which is now being designed. The project includes alternative energy features such as solar photovoltaic panels.
- The development of Silver Sands, Milford into a more inviting park with appropriate amenities, such as a bathhouse. A $6.2 million project is planned design work has already been funded by the Bond Commission.
- Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill, recently re-opened a new Discover Room where park visitors are able to explore new, state-of-the-art exhibits for both adults and children. The project was jointly funded by State and Friends of Dinosaur State Park.
- At Kent Falls State Park, Kent, the entrance and parking area have been redesigned and repaved. This new realignment of the parking area provides additional safety as more cars can move more quickly off of Route 7 to enter the park.
- Major utility upgrades are planned at Sherwood Island (new water lines) and Hammonasset (water, electric & gas). Both are in design. At Sherwood, total construction is estimated at $1.2 million and at Hammonasset, total construction is estimated at $8 million.
- Other improvements to facilities are underway across the park system, such as new picnic pavilions and energy efficient heating and lighting systems.
This fall, Connecticut will kick off the state park centennial celebration. It was 100 years ago this September that the State Park Commission was formed. In December 1914, the Commission purchased the first state park land – the original five acres for what became Sherwood Island State Park.
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