Sunrise Resort gets attention in Environment Committee

By -- Press Release --
East Haddam - posted Mon., Mar. 18, 2013
The buildings on the Sunrise State Park property have been trashed by vandals. File photo by Jason Harris. - Contributed Photo

The state legislature’s Environment Committee recently held a hearing to give the public the opportunity to voice their opinions on legislation, including a bill that will require the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to give a report on the status of the Sunrise Resort state property in East Haddam and develop a plan to assure the safety of the property.

State Rep. Melissa Ziobron (R- East Haddam) has pushed for a plan for Sunrise Resort since taking office in January because of concern that the property has devolved into an abandoned collection of rundown buildings that presents a significant safety hazard to the public and welcomes illicit behavior such as drug use, squatters and arson. The property, once a recreational destination for vacationers, was purchased by the state in 2008.

As a member of the Environment Committee Ziobron cannot testify on the matter, but did use the opportunity to question members of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

“This park, unlike most parks, is actually open at night, and so you have activity occurring all night long that is completely unsupervised and it has become a haven, almost an attractive nuisance, for a lot of people in my community and it is a big concern,” said Ziobron.

Ziobron requested a detailed plan of demolition of buildings at Sunrise Resort because of a fear that the two historic buildings on the property might be adversely affected. The DEEP assured her in the hearing that care would be taken to proceed cautiously.

State Sen. Art Linares (R-33), who commended Ziobron for her leadership on the subject, submitted testimony in favor of the bill saying that the property, with some care, can once again become a recreational destination in the region.

“Our goal is to help salvage Sunrise State Park,” Linares said. “Neglect and vandalism have turned this 143-acre property into an abandoned state resource. This bill calls for the development of a plan for the property and one that solves the site’s safety issues. This property was once a point of local and regional pride. It can be again.”

The Environment Committee has until April 3 to determine whether or not it will approve of legislation before the committee.

Submitted by Chris Fryxell.

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