DEEP looks to develop Waterford park

Officials are looking to develop Seaside Park in Waterford (WFSB)

Chances are there is one state park on the shoreline that you’ve never seen, until now.

“Seaside Park” in Waterford is the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s newest park.

On Wednesday, they were seeking requests for proposals from developers to create a hotel lodge on the former hospital site.

Seaside Park is considered a diamond in the rough. The 32-acre waterfront park was built in the 1930’s as a hospital for children, suffering from tuberculosis.

It closed as a group home in 1996, and its iconic Cass Gilbert designed slate roof buildings slowly deteriorated, then stabilized when Gov. Dannel Malloy made it a state park four years ago.

After years of study, DEEP announced it is seeking referrals for proposals from private developers to team with the state and hopefully reuse the buildings as destination lodging for guests.

“The collective vision is for a hotel lodge at this property keeping with what’s happening at many state and national parks around the country,” said DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen.

It’s a similar concept with what New York State did at Bear Mountain State Park, having a private company create a lodge.

First Selectman Dan Steward said his town wants to see the buildings restored.

“We want to see public access to the water that’s always been a condition of any proposal that’s been given down there for the last 20 years,” Steward said.

In June, prospective developers will have a chance to walk through the buildings.

They have their bids in by the end of July.

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