Milford lawmakers ask state to nix Silver Sands construction plans

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MILFORD -

Milford lawmakers and other city leaders want the State Bond Commission to reject a major construction project the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has proposed for Silver Sands State Park.

It's rare for legislators to ask the state not to give money to their community, but the project faces opposition from both parties.

State Sen. Gayle Slossberg is leading the group, which opposes the $9 million plan to expand the park with new bathrooms, a lifeguard office, a concession stand and a large maintenance facility. It would also implement a parking fee at the park, which is currently free.

The lawmakers say the plan would hurt local businesses, increase traffic, create safety problems and destroy the peaceful, pristine nature of Silver Sands and local wildlife.

Furthermore, the project is based on an environmental impact study done 25 years ago. Lawmakers say it's a project no one wants -- and the state can't afford it amid its current financial crisis.

"If they have to spend the money, please, spend it on our roads; spend it on our kids; spend it on our seniors," Slossberg says. "Don't waste your money here. We're happy with this just the way it is."

The plan's supporters include Gov. Dannel Malloy.

"It's important to remember that this is a state park that serves tens of thousands of visitors from across Connecticut and beyond," a spokesperson for the governor said Tuesday. "Therefore it must be operated, maintained and improved with all state residents in mind."

The commission is expected to vote on the issue Wednesday.

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