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One hidden gem of a beach sits along the Connecticut coastline. Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.
Bridgeport, Connecticut’s largest city, has its roots in industry, but to locals and natives like me, we know and love it for its lesser known attributes.
It’s a beautiful place; it reminds me of when I was a kid.
Pleasure Beach, a peninsula on Long Island Sound, has quite a history—the former site of a Coney Island-style amusement park, and a ballroom with top name acts.
Later, Donald Trump, Steve Wynn and Disney, even, eyed it for redevelopment plans that went nowhere.
Then, in 1996, the only bridge to get out here went nowhere.
"All of a sudden, caught on fire, me and my father were over here, down here fishing," said one local.
Pleasure Beach was cut off for nearly 20 years, until now.
"Permitting can be a long and arduous process but the goal of getting people to Pleasure Beach is something that everybody universally has been supportive of," said Mayor Bill Finch.
Thanks to Mayor Finch and $8 million in city and federal funds, Pleasure Beach is back.
"I just couldn’t miss the chance to see what our mayor finally did for us," said another are resident.
"We remember this beach being open years ago and we are so wonderfully blessed to be able to see it be open again," another said.
Free water taxis now operate seven days a week from a fishing pier a short taxi ride from the Bridgeport train station.
"Its, like, fun. We got a boat ride. We got to see everything," said one young resident.
Pleasure Beach is a delicate balance—part public beach, part nature preserve.
"It’s a positive thing to have this wildlife right around you, but you can also enjoy the swimming and the area," said Stephen Hladun, who works for the City of Bridgeport.