FAIRFIELD — Before it was Penfield Pavilion and the town was seeking federal money to help reconstruct the storm-battered shorefront facility, it was known as Sunhaven Beach Club. And even then, the town was looking toward the feds for funding.

After two years of debate, the town closed on the purchase of the Sunhaven property in April of 1976, and the $750,000 represented 50 percent reimbursement of the the $1.5 million appraisal.

Announcement of that payment was reported in the June 30, 1976 edition of the Fairfield Citizen:

A spokesman for U.S. Representative Stewart McKinney (R-4th) reports that the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation has issued a check for $750,000 as that federal agency’s share in the purchase of the Sunhaven Beach Club and two other properties.

There had been some doubt about immediate reimbursement of that matching money in recent weeks, as a result of a challenge to town beach parking regulations by a Meriden attorney.

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The year the town of Fairfield bought Sunhaven Beach Club.

The money represents 50 percent reimbursement for the appraised value of $1.5 million agreed to by the town and the BOR. That agreement had taken almost two years to reach, with the town contending the actual value of such prime beach frontage was closer to $2 million.

During the governmental debate, the owners of the Sunhaven had contracted with the KCB Construction Company to sell the property, and a local dispute ensued over the difference between the sale price to the town and the price KCB paid the owners The town acquired the tract in April.

According to the McKinney spokesman, the Fairfield representative had “gone to bat” for the town with the BOR to speed up approval for the matching funds

“It’s no secret that Mr. McKinney made a lot of phone calls and wrote a number of letters to push this along,” he added.

The money will be directed to the town through the state Department of Environmental Protection.

In all, the BOR grant covers 8.2 acres of property, representing about 1,000 fee of beach frontage.