On October 17, 2023, project leaders, City of Bridgeport leaders, donors and other community stakeholders gathered in Seaside Park in Bridgeport, CT, for a ribbon cutting ceremony. The ceremony marked the completion of the first phase of the Seaside Gateway Trail project, which has been underway for nearly six years.
The trail, which now connects the Perry Memorial Arch on Waldamere Avenue with two new entries located at Marina Park Circle and Howe Avenue near the Concessions Pavilion, represents a collaborative effort aimed at providing equitable access to nature, adding resilient landscape elements to the park and the nearby South End neighborhood, and offering educational programming. This “park within a park” features an accessible walking trail, new native trees and an underground irrigation system along the area of Seaside Park adjacent to the University of Bridgeport’s campus. Future plans for Phase II include additional native tree canopy, benches, bollards and an outdoor classroom.
Trail team leaders Barbara Geddis, FAIA, and Beth Santa, ASID, have led the planning and implementation of this outdoor space. Olmsted embraced the healing power of nature created by plants, shade, vista and fresh air— and the project advances this philosophy. Geddis states, “Olmsted’s vision in 1867 was to give back the water’s edge as a peoples’ park to the newly created adjacent city of Bridgeport. Its small population was about to quadruple in the next 50 years. The ‘seaside’ and its shady and breezy walking paths and sea air were an oasis of physical and mental restoration for all. This elliptical pathway and new tree clusters directly tie back to that vision of a gateway to the sea.”
The Olmsted Network has been a strong supporter of this project for many years and looks forward to the implementation of Phase II.