DEEP: DEEP Seeks Proposals for the Redevelopment, Management and Operation of Sunrise State Park in East Haddam

December 22, 2011
DEEP Seeks Proposals for the Redevelopment, Management and Operation of Sunrise State Park in East Haddam
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced it is seeking proposals from developers to redevelop, manage, and operate Sunrise State Park (formerly the Sunrise Resort) in East Haddam.  DEEP will work with the developer to create a destination location for the Connecticut State Park system offering public access, recreation, and economic opportunity to the state and the nearby communities.

 “DEEP is looking to engage in an innovative public/private partnership to return Sunrise State Park to a recreation destination that so many Connecticut residents and visitors remember,” said Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette.  “As the recent economic impact study of Connecticut state parks and forests indicated, state residents and visitors still love to enjoy the many outdoor recreational opportunities the state has to offer and the redevelopment of Sunrise will provide another excellent venue for the public.”

 The primary objective of redeveloping Sunrise is to make it a destination location for residents and visitors and to restore the park’s role as a vital and integral part of East Haddam and the surrounding communities.  Although the DEEP has no fixed plan for the park’s redevelopment, there are elements that will be strongly preferred by DEEP.  These elements should:
  • Preserve the natural, cultural and historic resources of the property
  • Ensure public access to the park
  • Demonstrate an economic benefit to the state and to the region
  • Demonstrate a sensitivity to development that is appropriate to the site
  • Use sustainable, energy efficient building practices
DEEP expects that proposed commercial uses for the property will be compatible with public use and the historic character of the park.  The DEEP will also consider proposals for development and new construction such as:
  • Recreation facilities
  • Education facilities
  • Short- or extended-stay accommodations including camping, RVs, and cabin
  • Hospitality uses, including hotel and banquet/conference facilities
  • Food service and small-scale retail facilities
DEEP will not permit the following on park property:
  • Permanent, long-term residential uses
  • Industrial or manufacturing uses
  • Telecommunication towers
  • Adult entertainment enterprises
DEEP will be offering at least one tour of the property for prospective bidders in late January.  An announcement will be made soon regarding the date and time of the tour(s).

More information on this project, including the complete Request for Proposal document is available on the DEEP website at  Proposals should be submitted to the following address no later than 4:00 PM on Friday, March 16, 2012:

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
State Parks & Public Outreach Division
79 Elm Street – 6th Floor
Hartford, CT 06106
Attn:  Thomas J. Tyler, Director of State Parks and Public Outreach
Background on Sunrise Resort/Sunrise State Park

The resort began in 1916 as Elm Camp when Henry Engle completed the Main Bungalow by installing electric lights, telephone and a water system.  In 1986, the Robert Johnson family took ownership and managed it until 2008.  DEEP purchased the 143-acre property in January 2009 for $3.2 million.