The legislature\’s finance committee endorsed a bill on Monday that would sharply raise the fees for special events, such as weddings, conferences and family reunions, at state parks.
Senate Bill 1011 would empower state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel C. Esty to raise the usage fees by up to 135 percent of the current rates. The rate increase would not be retroactive; it would only apply to contracts not yet signed.
There are several facilities in the state park system that are available for rent for special events. Current fees range from $220 a day for use of an open-air picnic shelter to $4,450 for five hours of use of the first floor of Eolia, an elegant mansion overlooking Long Island Sound in Harkness Memorial State Park.
The bill passed the General Assembly\’s environment committee earlier this year; it now heads to the full Senate for consideration.