Seaside State Park
Working to Preserve the natural resources of
Seaside State Park
and its historic buildings
Friends of Seaside State Park advocates for a future development of the park that focuses on the core concepts contained within its mission statement. We believe it is important to protect the nature of this unique and dynamic coastal habitat while enhancing the park’s new fundamental role as open space for our citizens. The existing buildings at Seaside have historic architectural significance, and retain the legacy of their renowned architect, Cass Gilbert. They are recorded on the National Register of Historic Places, and tell a unique story that deserves to be protected.
The Friends of Seaside State Park, Inc. (FOS) was established in 2018 to act as an advocate for protection and preservation of the newly established Seaside State Park in Waterford, CT. The FOS is governed by a board of directors and is devoted to promoting and preserving the coastal habitat and historic buildings of this unique piece of shoreline in southeast Connecticut.
The current Seaside State Park originated as a recovery center for tuberculosis patients in the 1930s and served various roles in CT State human services and healthcare into the 1980s when the facility was finally closed. In 1996 the state proposed to sell the Seaside property for private development but in 2014 the grounds were designated as a State Park under the guidance and control of the CT State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). In 2018 the state opened a bidding process to develop the park into a combined use open-space and hotel under a public-private partnership. That has proved to be a complicated process that is still on going.
Vision for Seaside State Park
The natural coastal habitat is to be maintained with minimal disturbances to create a quiet, restorative, contemplative park within an overall land use plan. It will include walking paths, gardens, passive beach activities and possibly an environmental education center and a small commercial operation, such as an Inn, in the Nurses Building.
If the big Infirmary Building cannot be saved, its original footprint should remain as a sunken garden, pavilion area or handicapped accessible playground.
The Friends of Seaside State Park wish to work closely with the boards of Harkness, Camp Harkness and the O’Neill Theater to “stitch together” the local coastline into a cohesive and collaborative asset for the community.
Adopted Feb 25, 2021
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