It’s considered to be one of the gems of the shoreline, but on Thursday night Milford residents gave state officials an earful over their plans for Silver Sands State Park.
The renovations to the park will cost about $6 million.
Residents said their concerns not only cover the costs for the project but other things, like traffic.
“I think the park is great. It's a really good facility. It has a boardwalk,” said Justin Dionne of Milford.
Many Milford residents told officials from the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection that they want to keep the park the way it is.
“I want to make sure there's not a ton of people parking in front of my house or parking on my street,” Dionne said.
The state unveiled its plan to renovate the park on Thursday night.
“Right now, there's virtually nothing in Silver Sands except what Mother Nature put there; a beautiful beach,” said Dennis Schain of DEEP. “We want to build a bathhouse with changing rooms, bathrooms and also a snack bar.”
Officials also want to add lifeguards and a building for the maintenance team.
“The concession stand I don't think is necessary,” Dionne said. “I do believe the maintenance people should have an actual facility at Silver Sands.”
The issue that infuriates neighbors the most is the cost to enter the park. Right now, to park a car at the park is free but that will change once the park is renovated.
“We do charge at Hammonasset. We do charge at Rocky Neck,” Schain said.
Donna Jackson, of Milford, said she believes many drivers will park in surrounding communities for free instead of forking over at least $9 to park.
“If they do charge for it, it's definitely going to increase the impact as far as the parking goes in area,” Jackson said. “I'm happy that they're having the park developed but I have very big concerns about the impact on our neighborhood.”
The state said it will consider many of the concerns brought up by neighbors and will formally respond within several months.
The earliest that there could be any changes would be next year. But officials say that it likely won't happen for another two years.
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