State Wants to Demolish Sunrise Resort Buildings

The 80-or so buildings on the site are badly vandalized and beyond repair, the state says.


The state intends to tear down the former resort buildings at years after the tourist attraction was bought and, some say, neglected by the state.

The state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which oversees the property in Moodus, believes the best course of action on it now is to tear down the 82 structures on the 144-acre property, many of which have been badly vandalized since the state bought Sunrise in 2008, the Hartford Courant reports today.

The DEEP last year sought development proposals for the property, which was once a thriving resort where locals from around the region worked, but rejected two ideas that were deemed financially unfeasible.

Melissa Ziobron, the recently elected state representative for the 34th District, has filed legislation requesting that the state do something with Sunrise, which was turned into a state park. The property abuts other state-owned parks in the area, but there is little public access to Sunrise.

Most of the buildings have become eyesores and present a hazard to curiousity-seekers, officials have said. Ziobron has called the state's oversight of the property a "disgrace." 

Sunrise was once part of a large and thriving resort community in Moodus that included Johnsonville Village, a privately-owned, recreated 19th century village that is now for sale, and the Klar-Crest resort next door to Johnsonville.

Observor January 25, 2013 at 12:33 PM
"Melissa Ziobron, the recently elected state senator for the 33rd District," When I voted for her the ballot said she was running for state rep in the 34th House District. I agree that the state's conduct was a disgrace - a potent illustration of what is wrong with government - but in the end it may be a case of no harm no foul. Moodus is down to one resort for the same reason it is down to one mill and the same reason the egg farms and the dairy farms are all gone. Time moves on, things change, economic conditions change. Sunrise was never again gong to operate as a resort. I think there is a win-win in this. The Sunrise property with some campsites, picnic grounds and playing fields will provide recreational opportunities to complement Machimoodus Park, which can be left in its natural state. Let's all be happy that it will not become a subdivision and move forward.
Joene Hendry January 25, 2013 at 12:35 PM
The photos posted with this article do not begin to show the current level of destruction. Vandals have totally destroyed the buildings. Nearly every window is broken; nearly every building open to the elements. Now that the property has been allowed to get to this state, there is no choice but to demolish the buildings. An asset has been allowed to degrade into a liability. Disgusting.
Wendy Vincent January 25, 2013 at 01:07 PM
Thanks for the catch Observor. I just made the correction.
Mark Sieczkowski January 25, 2013 at 01:25 PM
I agree with Observor that the time has past for these resorts and financially we're better off with the State running it in a much scaled back version. I understand the predicament the DEEP was in, they couldn't pass up the opportunity to acquire the property, but they should have been more realistic with their expectations of what would happen it seems to me they were overly optimistic that a 3rd party partner would swoop in and help them out, it was always a long shot. I just hate to see the waste, even if the bought Sunrise then allowed the public to perform building material salvage at least their wouldn't have been so much waste.
Observor January 25, 2013 at 01:47 PM
You are so right, Mark. Many of the cottages could have had second lives as sheds or storage buildings - hauled away for free, saving the state the cost of demoliton.
Observor January 25, 2013 at 01:50 PM
Happy to be of service.
John Felciano January 25, 2013 at 02:59 PM
The place was run down and unprofitable when the state bought it. The value is in the property not the business or the buildings. Lots of people have fond memories of the place but lets face it the "resort days" are over. No one was going to go in there and run it as a resort and show a profit, especially not in the condition it was in even prior to the state purchasing it.
Observor January 25, 2013 at 04:23 PM
"Lots of people have fond memories of the place but lets face it the "resort days" are over." There's the nub of it. All these people with fond memories but they wanted somebody else to actually patronize the place to keep it open.
Darren Shumbo January 27, 2013 at 12:29 AM
the state of Ct has never had any intentions of fixing anything at Sunrise, believe me,they have other plans for that place. The buildings that were mysteriously/professionally burned down was just the beginning...they bought the property with full intent to use it for something and you can damn well expect it to be in their favor, not the town's ,the residents, or anyone elses.If anyone believes the stae is going to do something good for the people of Moodus or CT you are sadly mistaken.
Observor January 27, 2013 at 12:52 AM
Don't let the downdraft from the black helicopters blow the tinfoil hat off your head, Darren.
Robin Hood January 30, 2013 at 01:40 PM
Darren has a point, lest we forget the land grab fiasco, I believe there was intent to do a similar deal here, they had several offers of camping and parks about green energy and they poo poo'd them all including a (vomit) water park. It seems they never had any intention of taking care of it, I think they hoped people would forget it like they did with Eagle Landing and swap out the land, it was odd how they renamed the section at Eagle Landing to another park like it didn't exist and it took years for them to put a sign up stating Eagle Landing State Park. Here they just left it but did work on and labled Machimoodus.
Observor January 30, 2013 at 02:42 PM
The proposals were all rejected for the same reason: None of the organizations making the proposals had any money. Talk is cheap, and I do not fault DEEP for not entering into an agreement with someone who was going to then go out seeking grant money that may or may not have materialized.
Ebolastar February 02, 2013 at 12:25 PM
I am mentally scarred by the State's behavior during the Eagle Landing swap attempt and find it difficult to have any trust in what the State's intentions are when it comes to using land for the Public Good.
Rich March 17, 2013 at 08:39 PM
Most of the buildings were going to be demolished no matter what happened. If the state hadn't bought the property, the Johnson's would have sold it to developers and 80 homes would have been built. When the state bought it, they announced immediately that most of the buildings would likely be demolished. They optimistically waited to see if a vender were willing to operate the park as a campground, and thus hoped the vendor would pay for the necessary renovations and demolition, but nothing viable was proposed. The state shouldn't be faulted for doing exactly as it said would. I still hope they preserve the pool and adjacent main building, but won't be holding my breath. The state's main goal was to protect the quality quality and public access to the Salmon River, which has been achieved. The state did this even when budget were lean, and should be commended.


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