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5/21/2015 - On Saturday, Historic Pleasure Beach Opens for First Full Season in Nearly Two Decades

“Last year, when Pleasure Beach re-opened, thousands of people discovered the beautiful white sands right here in Bridgeport. With the beginning of the summer season beginning this weekend, I invite kids and families in Bridgeport and across the region to come enjoy Pleasure Beach. It’s a little piece of Nantucket right here in Bridgeport, Conn.” –Mayor Bill Finch

Bridgeport, Connecticut (May 21, 2015) – After re-opening to the public last June 28th for the first time in nearly two decades in 2014, Pleasure Beach is re-opening for its first full summer season this Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.

Pleasure Beach – which is a 71-acre barrier island off of the Long Island Sound – will be accessible via free water taxi, which will pick beach goers up at the fishing pier located on Seaview Avenue near its intersection with Central Avenue, from 10:00AM-6:00PM daily.

“Last year, when Pleasure Beach re-opened, thousands of people discovered the beautiful white sands right here in Bridgeport. With the beginning of the summer season this weekend, I invite kids and families in Bridgeport and across the region to come enjoy Pleasure Beach. It’s a little piece of Nantucket right here in Bridgeport, Conn.,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch.

Along with the re-opening of the park, the city will be debuting a 24 panel historic walking tour of the island. Pleasure Beach has a storied history from serving as home to an amusement park built by Coney Island famed George C. Tilyou, to housing a baseball field owned by Hall of Famer James O’Rourke, to being visited by former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, to holding concerts for famous musicians like Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra.

The historic tour is self-guided with beautiful plaques that chronologically showcase the peninsula's history.

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.

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: http://bit.ly/1A7W4Tq).

“We’re excited that summer is coming,” said Bridgeport Parks Director Charles Carroll. “Many of the Bridgeport parks, including Pleasure Beach, have seen improvements. We have much to show the public when it comes to parks in the Park City.”

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