Letter to the Editor: Sunrise Resort State Park Must be Restored

The longer we wait, the harder it will be to return the property to an acceptable standard, so there needs to be a sense of urgency at the state level.

Many residents in the area, me included, have fond memories of time spent at Sunrise Resort in Moodus, a State Park since 2009. The former gem was a hot spot for weddings, family gatherings and a wide array of recreational activities--since the early 1930’s. 

Unfortunately, neglect and vandalism over the last few years have turned this once great 143 acre property into an abandoned and neglected state resource. Most troubling are the dilapidated buildings and broken windows that create a serious safety hazard for people that explore the property- with the state being liable for accidents.

When the state purchased the property back in 2009 the hope was that it would be available for active public use; but, in reality, the $3.2 million the taxpayers paid for the property is currently another wasted opportunity. State parks should not look the way that Sunrise does today.

But we can still salvage Sunrise State Park- all we need is a plan and some determination. That is why one of my first proposals as a State Representative is to develop such a plan for the property and one that immediately solves the safety issues prevalent on site. The longer we wait, the harder it will be to return the property to an acceptable standard, so there needs to be a sense of urgency at the state level. I hope to bring that urgency to Hartford. An investment of time and energy can return Sunrise State Park to a center for recreation and a revenue generator for the State of Connecticut. This should be a priority, and I will make it one of mine during this legislative session.

I have some other bills that may be of interest to you, including bills relating to the Airline Trail and Salmon River spring. Visit my website www.repziobron.com for more detail on my bill proposals.


Melissa H. Ziobron

State Representative- 34th District


Observor January 15, 2013 at 04:35 PM
The last operators of the property, the Johnson family, were competent business owners but by the end they were shoveling water uphill. They owned the property free and clear - no mortgage - but as the years went by the lack of money for maintenance became the worst-kept secret in Moodus. The demographic they served was shrinking and there wasn't anything they or anyone else could do about it. The situation was best illustrated last year when the state sought proposals and no profit-making business submitted one. Instead they got two borderline-flaky proposals from people who were hoping to fund their plans with government grants. Sunrise is gone; like the great Catskills resorts it was a throw-back to a bygone era. The best solution would be to take down the buildings by offering fire departments the opportunity to do controlled-burn training, fill in the swimming pool and cellar holes and let nature reclaim the property as a natural extension of Machimoodus State Park. Maybe then you could put in some campsites like they have at Devil's Hopyard.
Rich January 26, 2013 at 11:08 PM
I think that targeted preservation should be the key. The pool complex, for instance, is in relatively good condition (only cosmetic damage is apparent), and the state or town could operate the pool over the summer, with snack bar in one of the buildings. Most of the dining hall by the river could also be salvaged, however the kitchens are in terrible condition and would need be demolished. The boat houses could also be preserved for a vendor to do rentals out of. Some of the maintenance buildings could also be salvaged. Unfortunately, the cottages and "motel" far too gone to be saved. They are moldy, and nearly every door is broken. It sad how many of the beds were already made, and waiting for the next guest. However, renovating a select subset of the main buildings, could allow Sunrise/Machomoodus State Park to continue to be a joyful summer destination.


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