City leaders say 'no' to Silver Sands funds

On Tuesday, Milford’s representatives in Hartford and Mayor Ben Blake gathered at Silver Sands State Park and called on members of the State Bond Commission to vote no on bonding for a construction project at the park.

Hundreds of Milford residents have spoken out against the project, expressing concern with the high cost of the buildout, that the project is based on an outdated Environmental Impact Evaluation and is underestimating the damage the construction will have on local plants and wildlife.

The State Bond Commission is expected to vote on whether to approve $9,107,769 in state bonding for Silver Sands when it meets on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. This funding is to be used in the construction of a bath house building, lifeguard and staff office, concession building, and a maintenance facility.

“No one wants this project and the state of Connecticut cannot afford it,” said state Senator Gayle Slossberg. “Milford residents have been unified and vocal in their opposition to the buildout of Silver Sands. They have raised numerous concerns about the project, but those concerns have never been resolved, and in many cases never acknowledged.”

Slossberg said the money would be better spent on education, social services or other infrastructure improvements.

“I urge Governor Malloy and other members of the State Bond Commission to vote no on this project and consider a better way to allocate state funds than toward a widely opposed and poorly-planned construction project,” Slossberg said.

State Rep Kim Rose said she was “concerned and disillusioned” to learn that the Connecticut State Bond Commission is slated to vote on approving $9 million in funding for the first phase of the project.

“I along with countless residents and municipal leaders have voiced concerns over this project’s potential negative effect on the environment, local community and the public’s safety,” Rose said. “With Milford expected to receive a $2 million reduction in state aid, and the fact that Connecticut is continuing to face a deficit, I believe this money could be better spent on restoring some of the town’s vital services and programs.”

State Rep. Pam Staneski said the project is not wanted or needed.

"It goes against the very rationale for the state's prior investment in the revitalization of the Walnut Beach area,” Staneski said. “Small businesses have flourished in recent years because visitors to Silver Sands Park have frequented the adjacent Walnut Beach area, and building a concession stand will harm those businesses and our local economy.”

Last week, Slossberg drafted a letter to the State Bond Commission, calling for a rejection of the $9 million to Silver Sands.

State officials have steadfastly argued that many people use the park and that the amenities are sorely needed.