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7/9/2015 - Pleasure Beach milestone: More than 30,000 people so far have visited Bridgeport’s small slice of Nantucket

“We’re thrilled that kids and families can once again enjoy the beauty of Pleasure Beach. It truly is a treasure for all of Fairfield County and beyond. And, it’s another step in our goal to make sure every kid in Bridgeport has a park or playground within walking distance.” – Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch

Bridgeport, Connecticut (July 9, 2015) – More than 30,000 people have visited Pleasure Beach since in reopened last June after decades of neglect, Mayor Bill Finch announced.

“We’re thrilled that kids and families can once again enjoy the beauty of Pleasure Beach,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “It truly is a treasure for all of Fairfield County and beyond. And, it’s another step in our goal to make sure every kid in Bridgeport has a park or playground within walking distance.”  

Pleasure Beach reopened to families last year for the first time in nearly two decades.

Including Pleasure Beach, under Mayor Finch’s administration, the city has renovated and created over 100 acres of parkland.

Last month, the community joined Mayor Finch and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal to celebrate the opening of Knowlton Park, a new waterfront park along the Pequonnock River which was once a blighted former factory site. Knowlton Park already has been enjoyed by thousands of kids and families in the city’s East End neighborhood.

Tomorrow, hall-of-famer Cal Ripken Jr. will come to Bridgeport to visit the new synthetic fields that the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation helped build at Blackham School. The three fields, complete with new dugouts, scoreboards and backstops, are home to the North End Little League and available to the entire community.

In recent years, the City made created new or improved 16 different parks across the city, including new basketball courts, splash pads, playscapes, and baseball and soccer fields, giving our kids and grandkids safe places to play, Mayor Finch said.

Folks can get to Pleasure Beach – a 71-acre barrier island off the Long Island Sound that is owned by the City of Bridgeport – via a free water taxi from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. New attractions at the barrier island this year include a historical walking tour and expanded concessions.

Pleasure Beach had been inaccessible for 20 years following a fire that destroyed the wooden Bridgeport that connected the peninsula to Bridgeport’s East End.

“Our Parks Department and Public Facilities worked countless hours to reclaim Pleasure Beach for our residents after decades of neglect,” said Mayor Finch. “But every time I’m out there and I see kids and families playing in the sand and swimming in the Sound, I same thought comes into my mind. It was worth it.”

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 from that point on

Mayor Finch restored access to the barrier island after nearly two decades of neglect on June 28, 2014.

For more information on Pleasure Beach, visit:

For more information, please visit www.bridgeportct.gov/pleasurebeach or contact Brett Broesder at (203) 257-1049 or brett.broesder@bridgeportct.gov.