On Monday (3/5), the Government Administration and Elections (GAE) Committee held a public hearing on SB 252: An Act Requiring the Sale of the Former Seaside Regional Center which CFPA strongly opposes. This beautiful 34-acre property located on Long Island Sound in Waterford has tremendous potential to be a true “destination” State Park. There are some historic but worn-down buildings on the land, but CT DEEP has held numerous local public hearings to solicit input, and has issued a Master Plan for Seaside State Park.
We are thankful that so many people submitted testimony in opposition to SB 252. Here is a link to the public testimony that has been posted so far by the Committee staff (this should be updated over the next few days but over 250 people submitted). Here is a link to CFPA's testimony.
Those who provided testimony cited many reasons to oppose the sale of Seaside State Park, such as:
- If this irreplaceable property were sold, it might provide a one-time infusion of cash to the General Fund, but citizens would lose the ability to enjoy this public asset forever.
- The state’s highest priority for protecting State Parks has long been to offer direct public access to Long Island Sound. If Seaside State Park were sold to a private interest, access to the Sound from that property would likely be lost;
- CT DEEP realizes that its “preferred alternative” involving rehabilitation of the buildings at Seaside State Park for lodging and other purposes will be expensive, and that’s why the Master Plan calls for a public-private partnership which both limits the cost, and ensures the State will retain control and receive an ongoing benefit from this partnership; and
- If the rehabilitation and re-use of the historic buildings is determined to be not feasible, then DEEP will implement either the Passive Park or Ecological Park concept. Either way, the public will retain the ownership of an incredible asset that should not be privatized.
**We hope the GAE Committee will take the testimony from the public to heart and vote against this bill. If your Senate or House Legislator serves on the GAE Committee, please encourage them to protect Seaside State Park from being sold and vote against SB 252.
Special thanks to you if you took the time to use your voice on behalf of Connecticut’s State Parks, Forests, and other public lands! There will be other challenges before the end of the 2018 session, and we will do our best to keep you informed.
If you have any questions about this or other public policy matters, please contact CFPA Executive Director Eric Hammerling anytime via firstname.lastname@example.org.