Today the Baker-Polito Administration announced more than $6.4 million in Seaport Economic Council Grants to support projects in 6 communities and 4 educational institutions.

The grants will support development that stimulates the expansion and modernization of the maritime sector, research that prepares for shifts in climate and industry, and educational programs that increase participation in the blue economy. The grants were approved at a Seaport Economic Council meeting, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito at South Boston’s Flynn Cruiseport.

“Expanding capacity, resiliency, and opportunity in coastal communities will ensure the vitality of the Commonwealth’s maritime industry for years to come,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our administration will continue to prioritize Massachusetts’ leadership in the global blue economy through the guidance of the Seaport Economic Council.”

“The forward-thinking proposals made by coastal communities have empowered the achievement of key local, regional, and statewide initiatives,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, chair of the Seaport Economic Council. “I am pleased that the grants awarded today will support the unique needs of each community, while addressing both present and future challenges.”

Since its 2015 re-launch, the Seaport Economic Council has invested over $39 million in 83 projects ranging from local to statewide in scale, with an emphasis on supporting coastal infrastructure. In its first slate of grants for 2019, the council has maintained this priority, awarding more than $3.5 million to projects ranging from shipyard, harbor, and public space upgrades to site development. It has also affirmed its commitment to education and research, granting more than $3 million for projects such as emergency preparedness and increasing maritime industry opportunities and awareness.

“The Seaport Economic Council awards announced today by Lt. Governor Polito will boost the economic strength of these coastal communities and educational institutions engaged there,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “Our administration recognizes the significance of the maritime industry to Massachusetts’ heritage, and remains committed to empowering this sector to unlock new growth opportunities statewide.”

The Council awarded $640K in grants to Boston-based projects to support harbor improvements and workforce development, including $384,000 to improve drydock capacity for Boston Ship Repair, $245,750 to support a partnership between Roxbury Community College and College Bound Dorchester that prepares low-income youth for jobs in the maritime sector, and $150,000 to study the feasibility of extending ferry service to Columbia Point.

“The Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park is an economic engine for the City of Boston, employing over 5,000 workers, many in the maritime and related industries,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “This grant will support jobs at Boston Ship Repair, while building on our energy efficiency goals to create a cleaner, stronger Boston for generations to come.”

“This grant will help maintain the maritime and industrial working-class jobs at Boston Ship Repair while promoting energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park,” said Brian Golden, Director of the Boston Planning & Development Agency. “I thank the Seaport Economic Council for their shared partnership in supporting Boston’s waterfront industries.”

“Boston Ship Repair is thankful to the Seaport Economic Council for funding the large capital expenditure necessary to modernize the shipyard’s power to meet the current standards for our nation’s government supply ships,” said Edward Snyder, President of Boston Ship Repair. “With this power upgrade we will be able to stay more competitive in our market creating more jobs for the south Boston area.”

“UMass Boston would be extraordinarily pleased to see the ferry stop at Columbia Point. As we work to rebuild the historic Pump House and invest in the waterfront around our campus, we are looking to add programming in the arts and humanities on our campus to complement the fascinating exhibits visitors can see at our neighboring JFK Library and Edward M Kennedy Institute, as well as the state archives and museum,” said Katherine Newman, Interim Chancellor of UMass Boston. “I can think of no single change that would make more of a difference for our students, faculty, staff and community than to be able to depend on water transport to access the city of Boston.”

“These grants will support our local maritime economy by investing in local infrastructure, creating pathways to meaningful employment, and reducing carbon emissions while increasing efficiency through ship to shore power,” said Representative David Biele of Boston. “Taken together, these grants will allow our maritime dependent businesses and workforce to remain competitive in today’s economy, and I would like to thank the Seaport Economic Council and the Baker Administration for these important investments in our maritime economy.”

Additionally, the University of Massachusetts system received a $276,000 award to study and identify growth opportunities for Massachusetts’ fishing industry, a project that is designed to have statewide impact.

“I have been working towards a goal of a more integrated and collaborative research and outreach effort around seafood for years as the Director of the Gloucester Marine Station,” said Dr. Adrian Jordaan, Assistant Professor of Fish Population Ecology and Conservation at UMass Amherst. “The SEC proposal developed with Kristin Uiterwyk of UMass Boston’s Urban Harbors Institute will help build momentum and focus resources to help one of the critical industries for the Commonwealth to the benefit of coastal communities.”

“Given the serious challenges facing our commercial fishing industry, it makes good sense to fully engage the expertise and research capabilities of UMass to help those who depend on fishing chart a course not only to survival, but to sustainability and prosperity,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr. “Not only can UMass help people in the fishing industry make decisions that are critical to their future, the University can also help them to have a stronger voice in the regulatory process.”

Another 5 communities and 2 educational systems will be receiving over $5.3 million in grants, supporting a wide range of projects and studies. Municipal, Legislative and educational leaders expressed support for these efforts.

“The blue economy is perhaps the most promising source of year-round, living wage jobs for Cape Codders,” said Senator Julian Cyr of Truro. “I’m delighted that the Seaport Economic Council is investing in this region-wide collaborative initiative.”

“I have been a longtime supporter of the blue economy and all of the advancements it can facilitate to make our marine environment work better for us,” said Representative Will Crocker of Barnstable. “This funding is just the first step in a long journey that will make the blue economy a real economic driver for our region. Congratulations to the Town of Barnstable and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. ”

“We are thrilled to receive funding to build our Expedition: Blue! Installations and to build the brand of our regional Blue Economy,” said Wendy Northcross, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO. “We are grateful to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Seaport Council for nurturing and growing our vision of a strong and resilient economy based on our water assets.”

“I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration for this generous grant to support the burgeoning blue economy in Falmouth,” said Senator Vinny deMacedo of Plymouth. “WHOI is not only a world class research institution located in the heart of our community but is a great local partner. Their inclusive approach to this state of the art facility will not only result in an outstanding research complex but will provide more waterfront access and opportunity for the entire Falmouth community.”

“An improved Harbormaster Office and Visiting Boater Center will be a huge asset to our City,” said Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken. “The City of Gloucester is excited about this substantial investment from the Commonwealth. It allows us to provide safe, efficient, and critical harbor operations while increasing economic opportunities to a thriving downtown. We look forward to welcoming visiting boaters into our harbor with these enhanced amenities. Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration and my colleagues on the SEC for recognizing the critical role that all of our port cities play in the Massachusetts economy.”

“Having sound and welcoming facilities for Gloucester’s Harbormaster and visiting boaters is important for the safety and success of the port,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr of Gloucester. “This major investment of state funds will propel critical improvements to achieve those goals.”

“I am pleased that the Seaport Economic Council is investing in the Gloucester waterfront,” said Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante of Gloucester. “This grant for the Harbormaster’s Office coupled with further funding for fisheries research at UMass will build on the work we have done to assist our fishermen and our economic development plans for Cape Ann’s future.”

“The hard working folks in my District who make their living on our waterfront appreciate the support of the Seaport Economic Council and the Baker Administration,” said Representative Chris Hendricks of New Bedford. “Grants like this will ensure that we have the tools in hand to improve economic opportunities for the residents of New Bedford and beyond.”

“I thank the Council and the administration for supporting this ongoing planning effort, which is necessary if we are to protect and enhance access to New Bedford’s shoreside assets by the fishing industry and other industrial and recreational uses in the harbor,” said Rep. Bill Straus of Mattapoisett.

“I applaud both the Town and the Seaport Economic Council for making public access to the Saugus River a priority,” said Senator Brendan Crighton of Lynn. “This funding will go a long way in completing the design and first phase of the transformative Saugus RiverWalk project.”

“I am thrilled that Saugus has been awarded this generous grant from the Seaport Economic Council, and I thank the Council for their investment in this worthwhile project that will enhance that the Saugus waterfront, which is currently a diamond in the rough. The addition of this RiverWalk will beautify the surrounding neighborhood, which I represent, and boost economic development for the town,” said Representative RoseLee Vincent of Saugus. “Further, protecting, enhancing and revitalizing our riverfronts and wetlands are vital to the Town of Saugus’ identity and for the quality of life for its citizens.”

“These investments into New Bedford’s waterfront alongside efforts spearheaded by UMass Dartmouth will bolster the ongoing work to develop a burgeoning maritime economy capable of significant job creation and economic development,” said Senator Montigny of New Bedford, who has led legislative efforts to transform and connect New Bedford State Pier with the city’s historic downtown. “I look forward to the future development of our city’s most vital asset and the Seaport Council’s continued support.”

“This study is a critical step to our goal of having a regular water ferry for Columbia Point,” said Steven Rothstein, Executive Director of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. “This can make a critical impact for our visitors and tourists, UMass Boston students and those that work and live on Columbia Point. We are extremely grateful for the support of the Seaport Economic Council.”

“I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration for supporting UMass Dartmouth and our region as we develop our blue economy corridor from Rhode Island to Cape Cod,” said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert E. Johnson. “In awarding this grant, the Seaport Economic Council is demonstrating the Commonwealth’s commitment to an industry sector that can transform our economy.”

“This region’s historic connection to the ocean is a powerful unifying asset,” said Hugh Dunn, Executive Director of Economic Development at UMass Dartmouth. “This project is designed to identify and marshal our marine economy assets to expand economic opportunity. To date nothing of this scale has been executed on the Atlantic Coast.”

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.

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.