This week, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined Plymouth Town Manager Melissa Arrighi and local leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of the town’s new harbormaster facility. The construction of the new facility marks a major step in Plymouth’s multi-phase effort to expand and secure the harbor’s economic capacity for years to come, while increasing accessibility for residents and visitors alike.
The Seaport Economic Council (SEA) awarded Plymouth $1 million in August 2018 to build the new facility to provide increased accessibility and support to the commercial and recreational activities of Plymouth Harbor, which has approximately 1,000 moorings and slips for industries including lobster trapping, charter fishing, whale watching, and aquaculture. The new complex features transient boater facilities, public restrooms, and harbormaster staff.
Governor Charlie Baker said, “Our Administration recognizes the importance of the maritime industry to the economic strength of both our coastal communities and the Commonwealth overall. We believe strongly in supporting local efforts to ensure Massachusetts remains a leader in the global blue economy, and look forward to advancing more transformative projects through the Seaport Economic Council.”
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, chair of the Seaport Economic Council, said, “I’m honored to be in Plymouth to kick off the construction of this much-needed facility, and look forward to returning and celebrating its impact on the harbor upon completion. Our Administration remains committed to growing the maritime industry and will continue to work closely with local leaders to identify and address new opportunities.”
Deputy Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Tim McGourthy, vice chair of the Seaport Economic Council, said the SEA “provides critical support to the coastal communities of Massachusetts, with a focus on bolstering the growth of maritime businesses and improving sustainability. Plymouth’s new harbormaster facility will modernize and expand their waterfront, and provide a significant boost to the regional economy.”
Since 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has provided over $1.6 million in coastal infrastructure grants to Plymouth through the Seaport Economic Council grants program. In February 2016, the Town of Plymouth received $219,322 in SEC funds to develop a plan for improving the harbor, which identified the need for a new harbormaster facility and culminated in a $1 million August 2018 award to support its construction.
Plymouth also received a $416,790 grant in February 2017 for improvements to the Town Wharf, along with a $48,390 award in August 2017 to expand harbor capacity and increase efficiency with a dedicated boat ramp for commercial fishermen.
Plymouth Town Manager Melissa Arrighi praised the Seaport Economic Council under the leadership of Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito, saying, “their commitment to economic development, environmental projects, tourism, and assisting coastal communities, through programs including the long awaited harbor dredging, is unprecedented. The funding to both design and build this Maritime Facility is just another indicator of their efforts and one that will have an immediate benefit to our residents, visitors, and fishermen.”
Senator Vinny deMacedo thanked the Baker-Polito Administration for its “investment in this state-of-the-art maritime facility for Plymouth harbor. Plymouth welcomes hundreds of thousands boaters each year and as we head into summer, it is exciting to think that soon we will have this excellent facility to ensure public safety on the water and provide necessary resources for the boating public.”
Rep. Kathleen LaNatra said as a result of this support, “We are now positioned to be one of the premiere tourist locations in the country. Along with the dredging project, small cruise ships will now have access to Plymouth Harbor. This new facility will not only be a welcoming center for visiting boaters, it will also have space for meetings, safe boating classes and CPR/first aid classes. All in time for the Plymouth 400th and beyond.”
Rep. Mathew Muratore added, “With the dredging of Plymouth Harbor, not only will more ships be able to come to Plymouth’s beautiful coastline, but the new facility will entice them to stay longer to enjoy Plymouth’s restaurants, culture, arts, trails, museums, beaches, shops, and more.”
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 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.