Sherwood Island to undergo face lift (Westport Minuteman)

July 24, 2014

By Bonnie Adler, Westport Minuteman

The crown jewel of the Connecticut State Park system, Sherwood Island State Park is one of the most magnificent spots in Westport, drawing thousands to its shoreline on beautiful summer weekends, and serving as a quiet refuge for nature lovers throughout the off-season.

Governor Dannell Malloy and a host of state park and local officials arrived at Sherwood Island State Park on July 16 for a ground breaking ceremony that heralds the start of the refurbishment of the ever popular Pavilion, where so many gather during the season for crucial picnic activities like food purchases, sitting at shaded picnic tables and using the rest rooms. The Pavilion was built in 1961 and upgraded once 25 years ago and is now poised to undergo a $3.5 million face lift which will include a new roof, renovation of the kitchen and concession facilities, new tables and chairs, a new skylight for natural lighting, improved landscaping and the installation of a new bathroom with low flow fixtures that will be heated during the off season.

The new Pavilion will also bring the park into the modern age of energy conservation, with solar panels capable of providing 10,000 kilowatt hours of power as well as hot water. Renovations are expected to be complete by April 2015, in time for next summer’s prime season.

In his address to the crowd, Governor Malloy said he was excited about what is in store. He recalled his many childhood trips to the park, when he and his cousins were responsible for saving tables for the family for their many weekend trips to the shoreline. He added, “The state of Connecticut has been a good trustee for the state parks. We have kept our fidelity with our parks. We should be proud of the role the state has played.”

The state park system is currently celebrating is centennial year, and has received $60 million in recent years for improvements and upgrades.

“With important investments here at Sherwood Island and throughout our park system, we are helping to make certain to provide first-rate outdoor recreation opportunities for our residents and visitors for many years to come,” said Malloy.

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe welcomed the crowd, and noted that Sherwood Island is home to the beautiful 911 Memorial and boasts the only airport in Westport, reserved only for very small, radio-controlled planes.

Liz Ann Koos, President of the Friends of Sherwood Island State Park, an organization responsible for the refurbishment of the Nature Center, also welcomed the renovation of the Pavilion. “The Friends are committed to a strong partnership with the state,” she said. “The many groups that come here for fund-raising events, like the Bloomin’ Metric that brings thousands to Sherwood Island State Park, will be thrilled with the new Pavilion.”

Also on hand to help put a shovel in the ground at the ground-breaking event were State Representatives Jonathan Steinberg (D-136), Gail Laveille (R-143), Tony Hwang (R-134) and State Senator Toni Boucher.