Silver Sands construction may soon start again
Construction of several buildings destroyed by fire March 19 and a new boardwalk at Silver Sands State Park may begin again in the next few weeks if insurance coverage is enough to restart the project.
State Department of Environmental Protection (DEEP) officials met this week to discuss the $9.1 million park improvement project, which includes the new section of boardwalk and several buildings on it, as well as a maintenance building elsewhere on the property, additional parking and more.
While the state fire marshal’s office has not yet released the cause of the fire that destroyed the new section of boardwalk and the three buildings, Susan K. Whalen, Deputy Commissioner of Environmental Conservation for DEEP, said work may begin soon anyway. DEEP officials earlier said that continuing construction hinged on the cause of the fire, and what impact that had on insurance coverage for the damage. Scope Construction of New Britain carried the insurance coverage at the time of the blaze.
“It has reportedly been a busy fire investigation season for the fire marshal, so there [is] no report yet from the state police regarding the fire,” Whalen said in an email.
Scope Construction is still waiting for confirmation from the insurance companies that all the funding needed to replace the buildings will be available, she said, adding that the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) has been the lead in terms of tracking the insurance discussions.
“We anticipate in about a week we will have confirmation on the funding,” Whalen said. “Once that happens, Scope Construction is prepared to have building materials delivered to the site within a few weeks’ time.”
In June the three buildings destroyed were removed, as was a section of new boardwalk, and cleanup got underway.
Officials previously speculated that it will take five or six months to complete the project once it gets going.
“It is our intent to rebuild and we’ll be working with the contractor and DAS, which is overseeing construction on our behalf,” Whalen said earlier.
New designs had to be finalized, based on the salvageable part of the project.
DEEP spokesman Lee Sawyer previously said that evaluation of insurance coverage would determine if additional state funds are needed to complete the project.
Fire investigators finished their on-scene investigation into the blaze at the end of March, and at that time Sawyer said they were continuing to analyze evidence and interview individuals before determining the cause.
State Rep. Kim Rose (D-Milford) talked to DEEP officials this week and understands that work will begin again if insurance figures are favorable. She wants to see the project move along.
“Obviously, we were vehemently opposed to it and had to accept the fact that it would move forward,” Rose said, “and then this tragedy happened. Naturally, we want to get it done so people can use it and it’s not an eyesore anymore.”
The new amenities at Silver Sands, including a concession stand, restrooms and an office building on the new section of boardwalk, had been scheduled to open this past Memorial Day.