On August 25, 2020, 17 coastal community revitalization and resilience projects in Massachusetts received over $7.8 million in Seaport Economic Council grants.
Through these grants, the Seaport Economic Council (SEC) will help coastal communities capitalize on their unique assets to advance economic revitalization, create jobs, and prepare for the impacts of climate change.
“Our administration is pleased to make these new investments through the Seaport Economic Council to strengthen the potential that exists in the waterfronts and maritime sectors of the Commonwealth’s coastal communities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This grant funding and these local partnerships will be important as cities and town plan for their economic futures while adjusting to a changing climate.”
“The Seaport Economic Council is proud to award nearly $8 million in grants to support 17 projects that will help coastal communities plan for the future, especially as they work to respond to the effects of the pandemic,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Chair of the Council. “From critical infrastructure upgrades to programming for urban youth, these grants are investments in a Commonwealth and a workforce on the rise.”
The SEC provides grant funding to eligible coastal communities and other entities in support of innovative ideas and projects that promote job creation and economic growth, transformative public-private partnerships, educational opportunities for young people, local economic development planning efforts, and coastal infrastructure improvements.
The projects supported in this round range from major infrastructure projects in New Bedford, Fall River, and Yarmouth, to planning grants that will help South Shore communities like Cohasset and Kingston prepare for economic revitalization and climate resilience.
Additionally, the Seaport Economic Council continues its support for programming that exposes young people in urban neighborhoods to maritime careers and puts them on a path to continuing education.
“As we transition from reopening to recovery, we continue to look for ways that the Commonwealth can help communities and key industries come out stronger on the other side, and these Seaport Economic Council grants are an important part of that effort,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “We will continue to partner with municipalities to ensure they have the resources, technical assistance, and infrastructure to meet current challenges and succeed in the future.”
Here are the new grant recipients:
- City of Revere – RiverFront Masterplan $100,000
This award will fund a land use planner and a maritime engineer to assist in developing a master plan for the 19.4 acre waterfront Revere RiverFront. The planner and maritime engineer will work closely with the City’s Department of Strategic Planning and Economic Development (DSPED), Superintendent of Public Works, City Engineer, and Harbormaster to gather information and develop this plan. The master plan will examine issues and opportunities, establish a phased implementation timeline, and identify public and private resources available to facilitate the plan’s implementation.
- FRRA & City of Fall River, City Pier Phase 3, $1,000,000
This grant funding will be used to fund phase 3 of the City of Fall River’s waterfront revitalization efforts, which will ultimately enhance public accessibility to the waterfront and City Pier, strengthen recreational and commercial maritime uses, create full time and seasonal employment opportunities, and facilitate significant private investment. The City of Fall River plans on leveraging $1,600,000 in matching funds from the Fall River Redevelopment Authority (FRRA) to complete this project. Phases 1 and 2 were completed in 2017 with $3.2 million in funding from MassWorks, MassDevelopment, and the Seaport Economic Council, matched by $2 million in funding from the FRRA.
- City of Gloucester and Fishing Partnership Support Services, $170,000
This grant award will translate data from the Fishing Partnership Support Services (FPSS) and other findings into a feasibility study that will seek to stimulate economic growth in the commercial fishing industry and coastal communities. This is particularly important given the COVID-19 pandemic’s crushing impact on the sector due to limited nationwide demand for seafood. The study will identify assets and best practices in support of a multi-year plan to foster coastal economic resilience and protect the safety of commercial fisherman in Massachusetts.
- Mass Maritime Academy, Aquaculture and Marine Science Laboratory Facilities and Technologies Update, $990,000
This grant funding will upgrade the existing Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) Aquaculture and Marine Sciences (AMS) Laboratory facility, add modernized instrumentation, improve clean lab culture capabilities, and install a renewable energy storage system. The MMA Aquaculture and Marine Science Laboratory is a critical resource for supporting scientific developments and management decisions throughout the Massachusetts maritime economy. Once upgraded and fully operational, the AMS Laboratory will provide local, regional and national scientists a platform to focus on economically important species and habitats.
- New Bedford Port Authority, North Terminal Expansion, Pier Repairs & Fendering, $1,000,000
This grant will strengthen the Port of New Bedford’s commercial fishing piers and South Terminal, as well as extend the North Terminal to provide additional berthing space for commercial fishing and offshore wind vessels. The Port of New Bedford is the second busiest commercial harbor in the Commonwealth and has been the nation’s most valuable commercial fishing port since 2001.
- Roxbury Community College and College Bound Dorchester, Bringing the Seaport to the Community: A pathway from gangs to a new maritime future, $300,000
This grant funding will be used to build engineering lab space at Roxbury Community College and renovate existing computer lab space to support engineering and physics courses needed to prepare RCC students to transfer into Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA), and to improve the infrastructure at College Bound Dorchester’s Log School. Previous SEC investments have enabled RCC and College Bound to provide apprentice opportunities to over 50 youth, and this new funding will allow them to continue to expose for young people living in urban neighborhoods to opportunities in maritime careers.
- Town of Chatham, 90 Bridge Street Facility Design & Permitting Phase 1, $295,000
This grant award will be used for the design and permitting of waterfront improvements at 90 Bridge Street, a project that will ultimately result in the construction of a new state-of-the-art and energy efficient shellfish upwelling system to meet current and future demands, as well as improvements to and expansion of commercial and recreational water access for the public. The completion of this project will enhance the commercial and recreational shellfisheries within the Town, create economic opportunities, and develop transferable technology in propagation techniques and model design of upwelling facilities.
- Town of Cohasset, Government Island Wharf, $160,000
This grant funding will support permitting and engineering services related to infrastructure upgrades at the Government Island Wharf to improve commercial fishing access to the wharf and increase economic growth in the community. The Town of Cohasset’s Municipal Harbor Plan includes recommendations for improvements for the Government Island Wharf, including rebuilding the pier to include a conveyor system and hydraulic lift designed to ease the loading of commercial fishing equipment.
- Town of Cohasset, Parker Avenue Boat Ramp, $170,000
This grant award will fund remaining permitting and engineering services related to the replacement of the Parker Avenue Boat Ramp to improve access for both commercial and public recreational boating, making the project “shovel-ready” when construction funds become available. This project is in line with recommendations made in the Town’s Municipal Harbor Plan, and all related work will be overseen by the Cohasset Harbor Committee.
- Town of Fairhaven, Union Wharf Feasibility Study, $50,000
This grant award will fund a feasibility study to assess the potential for the expansion of capacity and uses at Union Warf in New Bedford/Fairhaven Harbor. The feasibility study will look at the financial feasibility of improved facilities or the addition of new facilities to enable a wider a variety of public, commercial, educational, and institutional uses at the Wharf.
- Town of Gosnold, Cuttyhunk Visitor Welcome Center, $425,000
This grant funding will be used to convert the existing Coast Guard Boat House on Cuttyhunk Island into a visitor welcome center, which is currently being underutilized as municipal equipment storage. Proposed additions and improvements include adding a welcome center kiosk, a public toilet facility for tourists and visitors arriving by ferry and other vessels, and public seating.
- Town of Kingston and Jones River Watershed Association, Resilience plan for the Jones River Landing Environmental Heritage Center, $120,000
This grant award will allow the Town of Kingston and the Jones River Watershed Association (JRWA) to prepare a maritime economic development resilience plan for the Jones River Landing Environmental Heritage Center and the surrounding area. The Landing currently endures frequent flooding, which is expected to increase in the future. This resiliency plan will provide a roadmap for the critical steps needed to creatively make the Landing and Landing Road more resilient to the impacts of coastal flooding, while sustaining the historic value and mission of this working waterfront.
- Town of Marblehead, Municipal Harbor Plan, $52,000
This grant funding will be used to enlist consulting services to assist the Town in the development of a Maritime Economic Development Harbor Plan. The plan will seek to address improvements that can be made to the harbor to serve both the commercial and recreational boating industries, and study the existing and ongoing elements of the 2009 Harbor Plan.
- Town of Oak Bluffs, North Bluff Redevelopment, $1,000,000
This grant award will improve critical infrastructure needs and enhance both transportation and pedestrian connections within the Oak Bluffs business district following comprehensive design and engineering work completed by the Town. Planned improvements include adding bus and taxi loading lanes and a rotary, redesigning the queuing area at the Vineyard Fast Ferry terminal, updated wayfinding signage, and a new shelter for passengers transferring from ferry to bus. Note: Subject to the approval of Town matching funds.
- Town of Salisbury, Salisbury Beach Welcome Center, $1,000,000
This grant funding will be used for the construction of an energy efficient and ADA-compliant welcome center at Salisbury Beach to meet current and future demands. The Salisbury Beach Center will include new restrooms, terraced seating, an information booth, picnic plaza, and a rinse station. This project is consistent with the maritime goals and vision for the Town including the Town’s Salisbury Master Plan, Salisbury Harbor Plan, and Salisbury Beach Partnership Vision Plan. Note: Subject to MEPA/local conservation commission approvals
- Town of Somerset, Municipal Harbor and DPA Master Plan, $38,972
This grant award will fund a Municipal Harbor and Designated Port Area (DPA) Master Plan. Facing recent job losses due to the loss of two larger employers, the master plan will allow the Town to better capitalize on waterfront resources including opportunities in offshore wind, commercial and recreational boating, enhanced port operations, and town mooring balls, as well as better harbormaster and marine policing.
- Town of Yarmouth, Riverwalk Park construction, $1,000,000
This grant funding will support the construction of the Riverwalk Park, woodland trails, and boardwalk loop. The final park will include a variety of amenities including parking, restroom facilities, restorative landscaping, environmentally sensitive design, walking trails, seating options, interactive playscape area, kayak launch, storage for future boat rentals or other park activities. The plan also includes educational programming opportunities by incorporating existing upwelller for shellfish propagation.
Since its re-launch by the Baker-Polito Administration in 2015, the Seaport Economic Council has invested over $52 million through 113 grants in 47 coastal communities, funding projects ranging from local priorities to shared Commonwealth-wide initiatives. Investments in coastal communities are crucial to growing Massachusetts’ economy, promoting public safety, and encouraging environmental protection and stewardship.
Photo of Marblehead harbor by Oceanhistory via Wikipedia.