Baker-Polito Administration Announces $6.6 Million in Seaport Economic Council Grants to Coastal Communities and Economic Development Initiatives
Grants will support economic development initiatives and infrastructure improvements
Buzzards Bay – Friday, November 20, 2015 – Today the Baker-Polito Administration’s Seaport Economic Council announced awards to Chatham, Gosnold, Marshfield, New Bedford, Quincy, Salem, Saugus, Salisbury, Winthrop, and the Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative. The $6.6 million in grant funding will support pier, port, and boardwalk improvements focused on long term economic and physical resilience, and a tidal energy testing initiative in the Cape Cod Canal. The economic development and infrastructure grants will advance the maritime economy in a diverse set of coastal communities.
“These grants, from Gosnold to Quincy and Salisbury, showcase our Administration’s commitment to advancing sustainable growth in communities of all sizes,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We will continue to partner with coastal communities to support blue jobs, partnerships with public education, maritime planning efforts, and coastal infrastructure projects that meet standards of resilience and sustainability, and to ensure they are able to play a robust role in the Commonwealth’s economic future.”
“Working with coastal communities to support and enhance their waterfronts will create jobs and drive growth for residents,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Chairwoman of the Seaport Economic Council. “The maritime infrastructure and economic development projects that we have chosen to fund will help prepare communities for growth, support resilient infrastructure and local economies, and unlock further job creation.”
“The maritime economy, which we define as all economic activity pertaining to or relying on the ocean, has driven job creation, and economic development in Massachusetts’ for centuries,” said Deputy Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Carolyn Kirk, Vice Chair of the Seaport Economic Council and former Mayor of the port city of Gloucester. “The investments we are making will continue Massachusetts’ national leadership of this important sector of the economy.”
The Seaport Economic Council furthers the Baker-Polito Administration’s goal of supporting communities and residents across the state by leveraging unique economic assets to drive sustainable regional growth. The council was re-launched in August, with a mission to deepen the maritime economy, promote economic development, and support resilient infrastructure in all 78 of Massachusetts’ coastal communities while preparing them to engage with the challenges posed by sea level rise and increasingly powerful coastal storms. The council’s capital grant program supports working waterfronts, local tourism, coastal resiliency, and maritime innovation, from the North Shore to Cape Cod and the South Coast.
Chatham - $1,000,000
The $1 million Seaport Economic Grant to Chatham will support efforts to renovate the Old Mill Boat Yard, providing a second viable commercial port for local and commercial fishers. Funding will also support the installation of an environmentally responsible vessel washdown facility, and improvements to Chatham’s shellfish seeding facility. An improved Old Mill Boat Yard will help mitigate the effects of sea level rise and barrier beach movement on Chatham’s infrastructure and economy.
Gosnold - $782,000
Gosnold will build, with $782,000 in Seaport Economic Council support, a new municipal ferry dock to accommodate the movement of passengers and freight. This new pier will allow ferries to load and unload at the same time another ferry is refueling, significantly decreasing ferry delays and service interruptions, and improving public safety. The new dock will also allow the Coast Guard boathouse to be repurposed as a welcome and education center.
Marshfield - $1,000,000
Marshfield’s $1,000,000 grant from the Council will allow the town to replace the current rented trailer and porta potties with a modern Maritime and Harbormaster facility. The new 7,058-square-foot building will improve services for local commercial fisherman and support the working waterfront. The building will also focus on increasing tourism, recreational boating, and fishing, and will link other waterfront infrastructure investments the town is building, including Harbor Park and the Esplanade of the Brant Rock business district.
New Bedford - $80,000
New Bedford will receive Seaport Economic Council funding to study the economic development potential in maritime activity generated by the port of New Bedford/Fairhaven, including cargo and fishing activity, vessel services, boating, cruise ships, tourism, and other activities. The assessment will also examine potential benefits and impacts of continued dredging within the Harbor.
Quincy - $680,000
Quincy’s Seaport Economic Grant will allow the city to replace its current boat launch ramp, which is only accessible from two hours before high tide until two hours after. The new ramp will be usable in all tidal conditions, increasing access to Boston Harbor. A new ramp will drive new tourism, fishing, and recreational boating activity.
Salem - $928,000
The Seaport Economic Council grant for Salem will enable the city to establish Salem Harbor’s sole public commercial marina, enabling local commercial fishers to use a local port, and allowing for increased economic activity in and around the Harbor. The marina is an essential feature of the larger Salem Wharf Project, the city’s most important economic development initiative.
Saugus - $120,000
Saugus’ $120,000 grant will fund a riverwalk along the Saugus River. The community riverwalk is part of a common community vision developed during a series of resident visioning sessions in 2013. The riverwalk will increase public access to the Saugus River’s riverbanks, increase local tourism, and help draw private investment, including hospitality, light industrial, and office developments, to the area.
Salisbury - $922,888
Salisbury will use the $922,888 grant to support improvements to Salisbury Beach. Salisbury Beach receives 20,000 visitors on a typical summer day. The Seaport Economic Council’s grant will unlock the construction of a 625-linear-foot oceanfront boardwalk, which will facilitate public use of Salisbury Beach, and help the town draw private investment to its waterfront.
Winthrop - $950,880
Winthrop’s Seaport Economic Council grant fund the construction a pier-supported wooden walkway and marine ecology park that borders Belle Isle Marsh. The marsh is currently used by only a small group of area activists and volunteers. Winthrop will use the new pier to allow locals, tourists, and educational groups to access the marsh, which is one of only four Great Salt Marshes in Massachusetts.
Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative - $209,952
The Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative (MRECo) will use the Seaport Economic grant, along with nearly $50,000 in other investments, to create the first permanent public tidal energy test site in the United States. This testing site, located in the Cape Cod Canal, will draw national and international private investment, as it advances the development of a reliable, zero-carbon energy source, and creates local and regional employment opportunities for high-tech and middle-skills workers.