- Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
- Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
- Seaport Economic Council
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces $1.5 Million in Grants to 4 Communities to Bolster the Maritime Economy
Colleen Arons , Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
HARWICH — Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced nearly $1.5 million in Seaport Economic Council Grants to support projects in 4 coastal communities.
The awards will advance projects that help seaside municipalities better leverage the economic, educational, and recreational opportunities afforded by their vast ocean resources, in order to stimulate growth and improve climate resiliency. The grants were approved at a meeting of the Seaport Economic Council at Harwich Town Hall, with Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito presiding as chair.
Following the meeting, Lt. Governor Polito also spoke at a ceremony commemorating the completion of a new harbormaster complex at Saquatucket Harbor, where extensive improvements were made possible by 2016 and 2017SEC grants, each worth $1 million.
“Our administration recognizes the importance of the Blue Economy to all of Massachusetts, and is proud to invest in the Commonwealth’s oldest industry to boost growth in communities up and down the coast,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We will continue to fund projects through the Seaport Economic Council to ensure that Massachusetts’ maritime industry remains a global leader, job creator and source of innovation.”
“As former municipal officials, Governor Baker and I believe strongly in empowering communities to meet the unique challenges they face through the locally-driven, collaborative approach embodied by programs like the Seaport Economic Council,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, chair of the Seaport Economic Council. “It is a pleasure to award these grants and celebrate the completion of this project today, so the recipient communities can maximize the benefits of their ocean resources and meet the challenges of tomorrow.”
In its second round of 2019 awards, the council allocated all $1.49 million in new grants toward the permitting, design, and construction of such improvements, including $1 million to advance a new Community Rowing Center and Maritime Science Center at Duxbury Bay Maritime School that will benefit residents and students throughout the region. In February, the council awarded more than $6.4 million to support projects in 6 communities and 4 educational institutions.
The remainder of today’s grants advanced harbor improvements that will increase marine capacity and opportunity, awarding $200,000 for Wareham to rehabilitate the historic Onset Bathhouse, along with $150,000 for Eastham and $147,200 for Orleans to build a new harbormaster building and revitalize Rock Harbor.
“Today’s awards will play a vital role in strengthening these coastal communities, and helping them meet their development goals,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy. “Our administration values the rich heritage and contributions of the maritime industry in Massachusetts, and will continue to empower this sector to unlock new growth opportunities statewide.”
“The maritime sector is a key component of the Commonwealth’s economy, accounting for nearly 136,000 jobs and generating more than $17 billion annually in industries ranging from fishing to the construction of unmanned underwater vehicles,” said Deputy Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Tim McGourthy, Vice Chair of the Seaport Economic Council. “We believe Seaport Economic Council grants are critical to unlocking and preserving the full potential of our oceans to strengthen both coastal and inland communities.”
“Since its inception 20 years ago, the Duxbury Bay Maritime School has become an important recreational, educational and economic resource to both the town of Duxbury and neighboring South Shore communities. Seaport Economic Council funding will support the completion of the Ellison Campus with permanent facilities for marine science and rowing programs,” said Ted Lawson, Executive Director of Duxbury Bay Maritime School. “These facilities will strengthen community connections to Duxbury Bay and the sea beyond and will have a significant impact on the thousands of students and guests who visit the campus each year.”
“We greatly appreciate the opportunity to invest in our beautiful harbor and we look forward to engaging the public in shaping its future,” said Eastham Town Administrator Jacqueline Beebe.
“The Town of Orleans is very excited to be selected for a grant from the Seaport Economic Council to fund the design of the Rock Harbor Commercial Wharf Improvement Project,” said Orleans Town Administrator John Kelly. “This project is essential to the economic hub that supports commercial fishing, shellfishing and charters within Cape Cod Bay and critical to the sustainability of the commercial fleet and for potential future growth due to the high productivity of bay scallop and quahog beds located just off shore of Rock Harbor.”
“The support of the Seaport Economic Council is at the foundation of our efforts to revitalize Onset Pier, the village’s amazing beaches, and the tourism economy they sustain. By investing in the rehabilitation of the Onset Bathhouse, the Council is helping create a vibrant waterfront recreation and education center dedicated to expanding public use and connection with the waters of Onset Bay,” said Mark Rasmussen, President of Buzzards Bay Coalition. “On behalf of the Buzzards Bay Coalition and the Town of Wareham, we want to express our deepest thanks to Lt. Governor Polito and the entire Council for making this project a reality.”
“I am very pleased that the Seaport Economic Council has selected the Town of Wareham to receive a $200,000 grant,” said Dean of the Senate Marc R. Pacheco. “The award announced today will support local efforts to upgrade an existing building at Onset Beach into a new facility for hosting community events. I am eager to see the final result of these resources in action and I would like to thank everyone on the local level who contributed to this successful SEC grant application.”
“The Seaport Economic Council grants released today will help revitalize historic Rock Harbor, a critical marine resource for both Orleans and Eastham,” said Senator Julian Cyr. “By helping to fund the new harbormaster building and replace the current off-loading bulk system, these grants will enhance the accessibility, safety and capacity of the harbor for fishing, aquaculture, and recreational use for years to come.”
“In July, I had the opportunity to visit the DBMS and see first-hand what a great educational resource it is for South Shore families interested in learning about the ocean and our coastal areas,” said Senator Patrick O’Connor. “This funding will allow DBMS to expand their role within the community and I’m excited to see what programs they are able to offer once these projects are complete.”
“I am grateful to the Seaport Economic Council for supporting this much needed project in the town of Duxbury, which will enhance public access to our waterfront as well as boost recreational and marine educational opportunities across the South Shore,” said Representative Josh Cutler.
“This project is so important to our community on many levels,” said Representative Susan Gifford. “I am delighted that the SEC recognizes this with this award. It will go a long way to keep this beneficial community project going forward.”
“I am thrilled that Duxbury received this money to further their maritime school’s ability to provide the best services to the community and the marine industry at large,” said Representative Kathy LaNatra.
The ceremony that followed the meeting of the Seaport Economic Council marked the conclusion of three years’ efforts to overhaul Saquatucket Harbor in Harwich, made possible by $2 million in SEC funding.
In 2016, a grant worth $1 million funded the construction of new docks to increase fishing and boating capacity while improving accessibility. And in 2017, a second award of $1 million advanced the construction of a new two-story Harbormaster building, featuring public restrooms and showers, a snack shack, boardwalk, workshops and artisan sheds, and 90 parking spaces to offer enhanced waterfront opportunities for locals and visitors alike.
"With the completion of these two major marina projects we have improved the safety of navigation within the harbor with the dredging of over 18,000 cubic yards of material, we have reconfigured and replaced the dock system and services bringing the marina into compliance with federal and state accessibility requirements, and we modernized and expanded our landside facilities that are resilient towards sea-level rise,” said Harwich Harbormaster John Rendon.“This improved pedestrian safety and handicap accessibility, clearly sparked economic growth, and importantly makes our Saquatucket Municipal Marina a more attractive and vibrant destination to a broader spectrum of our community.”
The Seaport Economic Council advances the Baker-Polito Administration’s support for communities and residents across the state by leveraging unique economic assets to drive sustainable regional growth. The council was re-launched in August 2015, with a mission to grow the maritime economy, promote economic development, and support resilient infrastructure in all 78 of Massachusetts’ coastal communities, while preparing them to respond to the challenges posed by rising sea levels 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.
Since 2015, the Seaport Economic Council has invested over $41 million in 87 projects ranging from local to statewide in scale, with an emphasis on supporting coastal infrastructure.
Investments in coastal communities are crucial to Massachusetts’ economy, safety, and environment. The Baker-Polito Administration will continue to provide resources and programs, like Seaport Economic Council grants and MassWorks infrastructure awards, to ensure that coastal communities can improve, strengthen, and protect the Commonwealth’s coastal assets.
New Seaport Economic Council Grant Recipients:
Duxbury - $1,000,000
Duxbury’s award will support the construction of a Community Rowing Center and a Marine Science Center near the public waterfront at Duxbury Bay Maritime School (DBMS), furthering DBMS’s mission of preserving and expanding the role of maritime industry and recreation in Duxbury while improving climate resiliency.
The Maritime Science Center will replace the tent currently used on an ad hoc basis for lab demonstrations with a permanent space, featuring state-of-the-art equipment, in order to properly serve the nearly 900 South Shore students already participating in marine science programming. Meanwhile, the Community Rowing Center will provide comprehensive facilities for DBMS’s largest and fastest growing program, with first-floor equipment storage and a second-floor training complex that will include ergometers and an indoor rowing tank, to better accommodate the more than 600 rowers of all ages that currently use DBMS.
Eastham - $150,000
Eastham’s award will fund the facilitation, design, and permitting of the revitalization of Rock Harbor, including the construction of a harbormaster building to enhance accessibility, capacity, and safety in a key hub for shellfishing and recreation. Eastham’s current harbormaster and moorings are located six miles away. Other planned improvements include public benches and picnic tables, climate change and invasive species management, and additional parking spaces to promote Rock Harbor as an economic center far into the future.
Rock Harbor lies between the Towns of Eastham and Orleans; today’s award was granted in conjunction with a separate award to the Town of Orleans for infrastructure upgrades to the harbor’s commercial wharf.
Orleans - $147,200
Orleans’ award will fund the replacement of the off-loading bulkhead, the installation of a high-capacity hoist system, and other electrical upgrades at Rock Harbor’s commercial wharf. Fishermen are currently limited to an inhibiting load restriction due to the poor condition of the bulkhead, and are forced to resort to unsafe practices to unload their catches in the absence of an adequate hoist.
Rock Harbor lies between the Towns of Eastham and Orleans; today’s award was granted in conjunction with a separate award to the Town of Eastham for the planning and permitting of a new harbormaster building.
Wareham - $200,000
Wareham’s award will support the rehabilitation of the historic Onset Bathhouse into a twenty-first century educational and community building. Today’s award builds on a 2018 SEC award of $350,000, in order to meet unexpected increases in construction costs and improve climate resiliency. Upon completion, the facility will feature a new second level and provide waterfront space for community meetings, boating, environmental education programs, and more.