WESTPORT, Conn. — State and local officials officially cut the ribbon on a renovated iconic state park beachfront structure Tuesday afternoon.
The pavilion at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport is now open after extensive renovations, which were funded by $3.5 million in state bonding.
“This pavilion is iconic,” Dennis Schain, Communications Director for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said as he stood near the patio’s glass windows that overlook Long Island Sound.
The structure, was last renovated 26 years ago, needed a facelift.
“We wanted to make the investment to bring it up to modern times,” Schain said.
The renovation was well-received by community members.
“It’s absolutely wonderful,” Liz-Ann Koos, a Westport resident and president of Friends of Sherwood Island State Park, told The Daily Voice. “We were pleasantly surprised when Governor [Dannel] Malloy facilitated the funds to reconstruct this pavilion.”
Construction crews replaced the roof, renovated the kitchen and concession facilities, replaced the seats and tables and installed a bathroom that will be heated during the off-season.
The renovations also included the installation of eco-friendly features. Crews installed 6.9-kw solar photo voltaic cells, which are capable of providing 10,000 kilowatt hours of power per year and can supply hot water.
Other upgrades include better landscaping and improved interior design with a skylight effect that will bring in more natural light.
Crews also installed energy efficient lighting and plumbing fixtures that will use less water.
And, in the near future, the adjacent parking area will contain provisions to accommodate electric vehicle charging stations
The structure has been a fixture at the park since it was built in 1961.
Local and state dignities were on hand for the reopening event, including DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen, Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe, and Pasquale Salemi, deputy commissioner of the Division of Construction Services.
State Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28), whose district includes Sherwood Island, was also present. He said it is important for the state to continue to invest in state parks despite difficult the financial times.
The Connecticut State Park System, which includes 109 parks, has received $60 million in recent years for upgrades, according to DEEP.
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