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$3.5M in Upgrades Coming for Sherwood Island State Park Pavilion

Ground is broken at the groundbreaking ceremony at the pavillion. (photo from governor's office)
Ground is broken at the groundbreaking ceremony at the pavillion. (photo from governor's office)
Ground was broken at the Sherwood Island State Park pavilion in Westport Wednesday by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other officials to mark a top-to-bottom renovation of the centerpiece structure of the park.

The extensive renovations will upgrade the roof, kitchen, tables and seating, bathrooms. More natural lighting and some energy-efficiency upgrades (including solar power) will be part of the pavillion by April 2015, state officials said.

The governor's office issued a news release about the project Wednesday. Here's most of it (with minor editorial changes):

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today joined with state and local officials, and state park advocates at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport to break ground for a project that will renovate and fully modernize the well-known pavilion at the historic park. 

The event highlighted the importance of maintaining Connecticut’s state park system, which is currently celebrating its centennial year and has received $60 million in recent years for improvements and upgrades.

“This is a fitting tribute to the legacy of those who came before us and had the vision and foresight to launch our impressive state park system 100 years ago,” Governor Malloy said.

The pavilion at Sherwood Island State Park was built in 1961 and was last renovated 25 years ago.  The project is being funded by $3.5 million in state bonding, which the State Bond Commission approved in May. 

The renovations are expected to be complete next April – in time for the 2015 summer state park season – and will contribute 56 jobs to the local economy.  

Upgrades and improvements to the pavilion include:
  • A new roof
  • Renovation of the kitchen and concession facilities
  • Replacement of seating and tables
  • Improved interior design with a skylight effect that will bring more natural lighting
  • Improved landscaping making access to the pavilion more scenic
  • Installation of a bathroom that will be heated during the off-season
  The renovations also include renewable energy and energy efficiency features, such as:
  • Installation of solar photo voltaic cells capable of providing 10,000 kilowatt hours of power per year as well as hot water
  • Replacement of lighting fixtures with energy efficient fluorescent and LED lighting that operates with motion activated occupancy sensors
  • Replacement of older toilets and sinks with new low flow fixtures
  • Provisions to accommodate electric vehicle charging stations that will be installed in the adjacent parking area in the near future
Historic park

“In 1914, the State Park Commission made its first purchase of land – five acres of salt marsh from the Town of Westport – to begin creating what later became Sherwood Island State Park,” Governor Malloy said. 

“Since then, Sherwood Island has become a very special place, attracting tens of thousands of visitors a year and serving as the home to our state’s 9/11 memorial.  Upgrading the pavilion at this park will help us attract and serve those who want to enjoy the waters of Long Island Sound and the scenic beauty here well into the 21st Century.” [...] 

“[W]e are making much-needed improvements to roads, parking areas, bathhouses, trails and nature centers as well as upgrading water, plumbing, and electrical systems at many of our 107 state parks,” said Commissioner Robert Klee of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), which administers the park system.   

Klee continued, “As we make these improvements we are committed to making our parks showcases for the use of renewable energy and the benefits of energy efficiency, just as we are doing here at the Sherwood Island pavilion.  This will help reduce the cost of our park operations and also help educate and inspire residents to take similar actions at their homes and businesses.”  

“The Friends of Sherwood Island remain committed to a strong partnership with the State of Connecticut and DEEP to make certain this park remains a scenic, active, and vibrant location for all families looking to enjoy time in the outdoors,” said Liz-Ann Koos, President, Friends of Sherwood Island. 

“DEEP worked closely with us to help provide Sherwood Island with a state-of-the-art nature center which opened 2010 and we are now very pleased to see the state moving forward with major renovations to the pavilion, which will bring improvements that will be greatly enjoyed and appreciated by all park visitors.”  

Connecticut’s state park system features 107 parks that offer swimming, hiking, picnicking, camping, boating, fishing, and nature programs.  The parks attract more than eight million visitors each year. [...]

Park improvements elsewhere

In addition to the pavilion renovations at Sherwood Island State Park, some other recent statewide park upgrades include:  
  • Construction of new camping cabins at several park camp grounds
  • New group picnic shelters at several parks
  • Renovating and upgrading the education and activity room at Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill
  • Numerous projects to repair/upgrade roads, parking areas, bridges, structures, electrical, water systems at several state parks
  • Design work for major upcoming projects, including:
    • Build out of Silver Sands State Park in Milford to construct a bathhouse, concession stand, and improved parking area to that shoreline park
    • Construction of a new nature center at Meig’s Point at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison
    • Construction of a new bath house at West Beach at Hammonasset Beach State Park to replace one damaged by storms.
 



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