Solar Park Proposal For Closed Dump On City Council Agenda

The City Council in special meeting tonight (Tuesday) is scheduled to take up Mayor Bill Finch’s proposal for construction of a solar park on the old municipal dump in Seaside Park. The proposal required approval from the Parks Commission that first rejected it unanimously and then approved it unanimously two weeks later in a controversial revote. The city’s legislative body will take up the 20-year lease with United Illuminating.

Contracts Committee Report re: Resolution concerning Ground Lease with United Illuminating Company to facilitate the construction of a Solar Electricity-Generating Facility on the Landfill near Seaside Park and the construction of a Fuel Cell Facility on Adjacent Land.

Full council agenda here.



  1. Is Seaside Park a landmark???

    (e) Landmark Landlord hereby represents that to the best of its knowledge and belief the Premises have not been designated nor do any plans exist to designate the Premises as a landmark nor are the Premises within a historical district or otherwise entitled to landmark protection
    To Landlord best knowledge and belief the Premises have not been listed in any national state or local register of historic places

    So Is Seaside Park a landmark?

    Maybe Finch and the UI should put this Solar Farm in Buffalo NY. They have the space now that Bass Pro pulled out!

  2. Seaside Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

    As Bridgeport rapidly grew in population in the 19th century, residents recognized the need for more public parks. In 1863, The Standard urged the creation of one or more public parks in the city and a movement to create a park along Long Island Sound and Black Rock Harbor began. By 1864, P. T. Barnum and other residents had donated approximately 35 acres to create Seaside Park, gradually increased to about 100 acres by 1884. In 1867, plans for a seawall and a driving track and walkway were made and drawings for the park were obtained from Frederick Law Olmsted whose firm completed the work. In 1866, work on a Soldiers’ monument was begun and the completed monument was dedicated in 1876. In 1884, a statue of Elias Howe was added and a bronze statue of Barnum (created by Thomas Ball) was added in 1893. In 1884, Olmsted described Seaside Park as “a capital place for a drive or walk … a fine dressy promenade.”

    In the early 1900s the park’s driving track was still being used for horse driving, but enthusiasts of early automobiles also raced their “steam carriages” and “gasoline cars” on the park’s track.

    The addition of Fayerweather Island in 1911 and other land acquisitions increased the size of the park to its present total of 375 acres.

    Seaside Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Frederick Law Olmsted was the principal architect of the site. Bridgeport architect Ernest G. Southey designed the bath house. The site contains three major buildings, a bath house built in 1918, stables from around the same time period and, on Fayerweather Island, Black Rock Harbor Light erected in the mid-19th century.

    From 1994 to 2002, Bridgeport’s Parks Department spent some $9 million on improvements. Results include a realignment of roads, more parking and a new bathhouse on the west beach with bathrooms, showers and cabanas. Not everyone was pleased about the physical changes. Charles W. Brilvitch, the city’s official historian said of the changes: “They’ve just disrespected the original design of the park. It was designed to have a boulevard along the waterfront, and now we’ve got parking lots, and we’ve got all this junk, this modern sculpture–stuff that just doesn’t belong in an Olmsted, Vaux and Viele park.” Joe P. Gresko, the city’s spokesperson, said “When Olmsted designed the park, it was back in the 1800s, when vehicles were really rare to be seen. If we kept it as is, you’re asking everyone to walk to the park. I think we’ve improved the park. Keeping the old bathhouse and renovating it is an example of how we’re trying to keep the original design in mind.”

  3. Tonight’s vote is a done deal. The council will vote even though this contract is heavily against the city’s interest. Just one example, any UI employee who becomes ill because they worked on this project becomes the city’s responsibility thus opening us up to civil suits.
    I believe the following council people will vote NO on this project:
    Rick Torres
    Patricia Swain
    Robert Halstead
    Michele Lyons?
    Mary McBride
    Richard Salter
    There are only 5 and possibly 6 no votes on the council. The rest have sold us into green hell.


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