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Connecticut sees a path to finally redevelop Seaside State Park

Brian Scott-Smith
WSHU Public Radio
Seaside, once an asylum and closed more than two decades ago, was turned into a state park in Waterford, Connecticut, by former Governor Dannel Malloy in 2014. It has yet to be redeveloped.

Seaside State Park in Waterford could finally be redeveloped if Connecticut wins a grant available under the American Rescue Plan Act.

A former asylum on the property was closed more than two decades ago and was turned into a state park in 2014 under former Governor Dannel Malloy. The buildings on the site have become run down, despite interest from developers over the years to preserve the historic buildings and redevelop the site.

State Deputy Environmental Commissioner Mason Trumble said out of the options to either keep or remove run down historic buildings at the site, demolishing them might be the safer and cheaper option.

“The buildings would come down,” Trumble said. “Obviously, we want to make sure we do a good job of recognizing the historical and cultural value those buildings represent. That’s really important to us.”

“We had some additional cost estimates done on that passive park option and price jumped up,” he continued.

Trumble said if the state is awarded between $5 million and $10 million, the plan is to turn Seaside into a passive park space, which means a park with minimal landscaping and development that can serve as a recreation area.

“This is the simplest and most kind of realistic model for Seaside at this time and this grant opportunity,” he said. “So again, we’ll wait to hear back on the grant before we make a formal decision on the path we take, but that’s the path we’re pursuing as part of this grant.”

The state will make its former grant application in March.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.