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Connecticut begins redesigning Waterford's Seaside State Park

Helen Post-Curry talks about Seaside State Park at a community meeting in Waterford.
Brian Scott-Smith
Helen Post-Curry talks about Seaside State Park at a community meeting in Waterford.

Connecticut has begun redesigning Seaside State Park in Waterford.

A sanatorium used to be located on the site.

Helen Post Curry is the president of Friends of Seaside State Park and is also the great granddaughter of Cass Gilbert, the architect who designed the sanatorium buildings at the historic site.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is expected to work with the community to incorporate historic preservation into the new passive park design.

Curry said she’s sad to see the buildings go, but she has come to terms with it.

“You know it’s all very well to say they’re historic, they have to be saved,” Curry said. “Now my thinking is, okay, but for what? The best we can all do now is to work with DEEP to document the buildings, preserve as much of their materials as we can and create a vision for the best possible park for everyone’s enjoyment.”

Waterford Town First Selectman Rob Brule said he hopes some materials from the historic buildings might be able to be reclaimed and reused.

“Yeah, I’d like to see some of the old buildings, maybe the bricks that become the pathways,” Brule said. “So, there is a connection to the past. It’s easier said than done, it’s easier for me to say that, but parking is a big deal, you know if we can make the parking accessible, safe for all, well lit. That’s one of those things that I think in a passive park, you need restrooms.”

Seaside became a state park back in 2014 under the Malloy administration, but since then has failed to find a developer leading to buildings on the site to fall into disrepair.

Connecticut has secured more than $7 million in federal funding for the project.

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.