The Sun is Rising in East Haddam, Again

DEEP seeks proposals for the redevelopment, management and operation of Sunrise State Park in East Haddam.


DEEP Press Release

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced it is seeking proposals from developers to redevelop, manage and operate Sunrise State Park (formerly the Sunrise Resort) in East Haddam.  DEEP will work with the developer to create a destination location for the Connecticut State Park system offering public access, recreation and economic opportunity to the state and the nearby communities.

“DEEP is looking to engage in an innovative public/private partnership to return Sunrise State Park to a recreation destination that so many Connecticut residents and visitors remember,” said Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette. 

“As the recent economic impact study of Connecticut state parks and forests indicated, state residents and visitors still love to enjoy the many outdoor recreational opportunities the state has to offer and the redevelopment of Sunrise will provide another excellent venue for the public.”

The primary objective of redeveloping Sunrise is to make it a destination location for residents and visitors and to restore the park’s role as a vital and integral part of East Haddam and the surrounding communities.  Although the DEEP has no fixed plan for the park’s redevelopment, there are elements that will be strongly preferred by DEEP.  These elements should:

  • Preserve the natural, cultural and historic resources of the property
  • Ensure public access to the park
  • Demonstrate an economic benefit to the state and to the region
  • Demonstrate a sensitivity to development that is appropriate to the site
  • Use sustainable, energy efficient building practices

DEEP expects that proposed commercial uses for the property will be compatible with public use and the historic character of the park.  The DEEP will also consider proposals for development and new construction such as:

  • Recreation facilities
  • Education facilities
  • Short- or extended-stay accommodations including camping, RVs, and cabins
  • Hospitality uses, including hotel and banquet/conference facilities
  • Food service and small-scale retail facilities

DEEP will not permit the following on park property:

  • Permanent, long-term residential uses
  • Industrial or manufacturing uses
  • Telecommunication towers
  • Adult entertainment enterprises

DEEP will be offering at least one tour of the property for prospective bidders in late January.  An announcement will be made soon regarding the date and time of the tour(s).

More information on this project, including the complete Request for Proposal document is available on the DEEP website at www.ct.gov/DEEP/Sunrise.  Proposals should be submitted to the following address no later than 4:00 PM on Friday, March 16, 2012:

            Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

            State Parks & Public Outreach Division

            79 Elm Street – 6th Floor

            Hartford, CT 06106


            Attn:  Thomas J. Tyler, Director of State Parks and Public Outreach


Background on Sunrise Resort/Sunrise State Park

The resort began in 1916 as Elm Camp when Henry Engle completed the Main Bungalow by installing electric lights, telephone and a water system.  In 1986, the Robert Johnson family took ownership and managed it until 2008.  DEEP purchased the 143-acre property in January 2009 for $3.2 million.

Gene Bartholomew January 05, 2012 at 02:10 PM
What could you possibly do with it now?????????????? Another crime against the people, all the money wasted, you have to mothball a facility, you don't just abandon it after you purchase it with millions of taxpayer dollars. I have long suspected that many of these purchases had a secret agenda, like Eagle Landing, to transfer it to connected individuals. Sit on it, let it fall into shambles, and then tell the people, "oops, we can't handle this, but Vito Corleones Corporation can once we quit claim it to him". I yi yi
Gene Bartholomew January 05, 2012 at 02:16 PM
In this scenario, this is a beaut: Ct taxpayers keep Sunrise, so to speak, as such, a suposed state park, it will not be taxed. Said corporation gets to do whatever tax free while operating a business there, and any problems like remediation is passed on to us. Such a deal!!
Gene Bartholomew January 05, 2012 at 02:16 PM
No state funds are expected to be available for the support of this project. Therefore, Sunrise State Park must be economically self-sustaining. It is anticipated that commercial uses compatible with the public uses and historic character of the park will be an integral part of the park’s redevelopment plan. The DEEP will consider proposals for development and/or new construction such as: Recreation facilities; Education facilities; Cultural or arts facilities; Short-term or extended-stay accommodations; including camping, RV, and cabin accommodations Hospitality uses, including hotels and conference/banquet facilities; Food service and small scale retail which support the redevelopment Other public, commercial and mixed-use purposes appropriate to the site and the character of the park. Office and administration space which support the redevelopment. As the purpose of this RFP is to seek out the best re-use plan for Sunrise State Park, the DEEP will evaluate any proposal outside the above mentioned parameters which the respondent believes is compelling enough in its contribution to the economic vitality of the region and provide public benefit to the citizens of Connecticut.
Gene Bartholomew January 05, 2012 at 02:23 PM
http://www.ct.gov/dep/lib/dep/stateparks/parks/sunrise/sunrise_request_for_proposals.pdf you should read this, lots of buildings listed for demolition
Melissa Hoy Ziobron January 05, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Thanks for posting the link Gene.


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