For Immediate Release - February 23, 2016

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Seaport Economic Council Grants for Ten Communities

Funds will support the maritime economy by facilitating economic growth, supporting coastal infrastructure, and increasing educational opportunities

Gloucester – Tuesday, February 23, 2016 – Today the Baker-Polito Administration’s Seaport Economic Council announced $5.15 million in grant awards to Dartmouth, Gloucester, Harwich, Hingham, Nahant, New Bedford, Plymouth, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to support infrastructure improvements that focus on long-term resilience, planning efforts that aim to unlock significant economic growth potential, and research that could make clean energy more affordable for coastal communities.

“My administration is committed to helping coastal communities achieve sustainable growth by supporting the thousands of residents that drive our marine economy,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Investing in community planning, infrastructure improvements, and locally directed actions that meet our standards of resilience and sustainability will keep these communities strong while supporting the Commonwealth’s economy.”

“These Council grants will help coastal communities unlock economic growth and job creation on their waterfronts and beyond,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Chairwoman of the Seaport Economic Council. “The investments made will support local jobs and reinforce Massachusetts’ leadership in diverse sectors of the maritime economy, from commercial fishing to clean energy generation.”

“The maritime economy has driven economic growth and job creation in Massachusetts since its foundation,” 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. “These grants help ensure that our coastal communities have diverse and strong economies.”

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.

Grant Recipients

Cape Cod Commission - $180,000

The Cape Cod Commission will use Seaport Economic Council funding to develop a plan for maritime economy expansion. This plan will focus on leveraging existing strengths, including a well-developed research community and a long history of entrepreneurship, to create regional economic growth and increase the number of non-seasonal skilled jobs.

Dartmouth - $1,000,000

Dartmouth’s grant will allow the town to purchase a parcel on its Upper Harbor for development as a welcome center, addressing a community-identified need for public waterfront access. The area will provide educational and recreational opportunities, and will complement the Town’s investment in Padanaram Village by drawing people to new restaurants and local businesses.

Gloucester - $151,000

Gloucester’s grant is focused on sustaining and improving the 40 percent of the City’s economy that relies on fishing, processing, shore-side services, and related businesses. It will allow to city to exhibit its seafood locally, regionally and nationally, and will support a branding campaign for “Gloucester Fresh Seafood.” Funding will also help the Fishermen’s Wives Association to procure additional contracts for Gloucester’s seafood with restaurants and institutions.

Harwich - $1,000,000

Harwich’s Seaport Economic Council grant supports the town’s efforts to repair the East Dock of the Municipal Marina. This includes significant repairs to the dock’s basic infrastructure, and the replacement of 74 boat slips. The investment supports residents and local businesses.  

Hingham - $700,000

The Seaport Economic Council’s grant will allow Hingham to build a Maritime Center on Bathing Beach that will support local recreational, commercial, and educational activities. It will allow the town the more effectively promote the Hingham Farmer’s Market and related events, will facilitate boat and paddleboard rentals to residents and tourists, and will provide space to highlight Hingham’s rich history.

Massachusetts Maritime Academy - $1,000,000

Funding for the Massachusetts Maritime Academy will support the Pier Extension for Marina Dockage. This will increase the Academy’s capacity to deliver effective training, support educational opportunities, and partner with educational institutions to perform research and development. It will also allow the Academy to provide secure dockage for federal and state emergency response vessels.

Nahant - $410,000

The Seaport Economic Council grant to Nahant will reconstruct and stabilize protective walls around Tudor Wharf, to protect the livelihood of Nahant’s commercial fishermen and lobstermen. It will also replace the aging boat ramp and improve associated areas used for boat and equipment storage, support their recreational and commercial use.

New Bedford - $250,000

The grant will support planning efforts on the New Bedford waterfront and help identify opportunities for investment in infrastructure and site improvements. This will supplement efforts by the City to reduce barriers to private development along the waterfront and draw new business and jobs to New Bedford.

Plymouth – $219,322

Seaport Economic Council funding will help Plymouth to finalize engineering and permitting on its proposed Maritime Facility, and develop a harbor plan. As the second busiest state port and boat ramp in Massachusetts, Plymouth has the potential to leverage untapped economic growth in its harbor and build on a previous Seaport Economic Council Planning Grant awarded in 2009.

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth - $239,898

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth will use Seaport Economic Council funding to support research and development in wave energy. The research has the potential to dramatically reduce manufacturing and deployment costs associated with traditional wave energy generators, making devices smaller, easier to use, and more cost effective.