From city Communications Director Brett Broesder:
Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch unveiled a historic walking tour at Pleasure Beach–which is a 71-acre barrier island that opened to the public last summer for the first time in 18 years–that will launch when the island officially opens on Saturday, May 23, 2015.
“Memorial Day weekend, Pleasure Beach will be reopening for its second consecutive season,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. “This year, for residents and visitors to learn more about the island–the storied past of Pleasure Beach where the Chicago Cubs played the Bridgeport Orators, former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt visited, Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra played, and all kinds of other interesting and historic things happened–we’ll have a historic tour that is self-guided with beautiful plaques that chronologically showcase its rich history.”
Ø Click here to view the 24 panel tour: bit.ly/1Pow1xN.
Ø Click here to view a video of the announcement: bit.ly/1QU49Pu.
Ø Click here for photos of the announcement: bit.ly/1A7TJrD.
Bridgeport took ownership of Pleasure Beach in 1892. It served as home to a nationally acclaimed amusement park and ballroom for the first half of the 20th century. But fires and declining visitor numbers put the amusement park out of business in 1966. The barrier island continued to go from periods of revival and decay until Father’s Day of 1996 when the bridge to Pleasure Beach set ablaze. The bridge was deemed unusable after the fire, and Pleasure Beach remained inaccessible. But last year Mayor Finch restored access to the barrier island after nearly two decades of neglect.
“Pleasure Beach was an asset to the Bridgeport community for many years,” said State Representative Chris Rosario. “Unfortunately, it went dark for so long. But thanks to Mayor Finch’s leadership, we were able to recapture it. It’s not only great for our residents, but also for the region to see the beauty that we have right here in our backyard. I had many pleasant memories at Pleasure Beach as a kid growing up and I’m looking forward to now sharing new memories with my kids right out here at Pleasure Beach.:
Mayor Finch also stated that Pleasure Beach will officially open for the summer on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 10 a.m. and will close at 6 p.m. The barrier island will be accessible on weekends in May via free water taxi, which will pick beach goers up at the fishing pier located on Seaview Avenue near its intersection with Central Avenue. It will open seven days a week via free water taxi beginning in June.
In addition, Mayor Finch thanked those who helped with putting together the Pleasure Beach history tour, including: Mike Daly of the Connecticut Post, Lennie Grimaldi of OnlyinBridgeport.com, Mary Witkowski from the Bridgeport History Center, and Mike Biewala from the Bridgeport Public Library.
“Last year, more than 25,000 people came out to enjoy Pleasure Beach in the less than three months it was open,” said Mayor Finch. “This year, we expect even more people to come to Pleasure Beach and enjoy the beauties of nature, enjoy the swimming in Long Island Sound, enjoy the historic walking tour, and having a great time with your families. It’s like a little piece of Nantucket right here in Bridgeport.”
Currently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is executing a $2 million dollar investment in repairing breakwaters off the Pleasure Beach shoreline (click here for more info from the Conn. Post: bit.ly/1A7W4Tq).
“With the federal improvements, and the historic walking tour, it’s going to be another great summer,” said Mayor Finch. “So come on out to Pleasure Beach.”