Photo courtesy of City of Gloucester

The Baker-Polito Administration announced more than $2.9 million in Seaport Economic Council Grants to support nine projects in seven communities. The Seaport Economic Council approved these grants at today’s meeting, chaired by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito at Gloucester’s Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library.

These grants advance the mission of the Seaport Economic Council to support working waterfronts, local tourism, coastal resilience, maritime innovation and the Commonwealth’s robust Blue Economy.

Governor Charlie Baker said, “Massachusetts’ coastal assets are incredibly important to the state’s overall economic health, and our administration’s investments through the Seaport Economic Council continue to expand capacity, resiliency and opportunity in cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth. We are pleased to continue to offer these competitive grant programs, and partner with local leaders to protect these natural resources and capitalize on their benefits.”

Lt. Governor Polito, Chair of the Council, said the Seaport Economic Council “is partnering with communities to continue the momentum that we have seen in the Blue Economy in recent years. We are thrilled to make this funding available today for these nine planning and infrastructure projects, and to encourage communities with saltwater dredging needs to submit applications for the next grant round.”

Since its re-launch by the Baker-Polito Administration in 2015, the Seaport Economic Council has invested over $44 million through 96 grants in 42 coastal communities, funding projects ranging from local priorities to shared Commonwealth wide initiatives. In the round of grants approved today, the Council is awarding $2.34 million to support coastal infrastructure projects that include commercial fishing pier reconstruction and complete marina renovations.

This round of grants also provides more than $580,000 in maritime economic planning grants to help fund projects such as waterway improvement plans and harbor master plans that seek to identify opportunities to increase economic activity at established waterfronts and address the challenges due to climate change.

Vice Chair of the Council and Deputy Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Tim McGourthy said, “We are pleased to make these investments in diverse coastal communities from Cape Ann to Cape Cod to the Southcoast. We will continue to partner with all 78 of the Commonwealth’s seaside cities and towns to ensure they have the resources, technical assistance, and infrastructure to address challenges and continue to thrive economically.”

The City of Gloucester was awarded a $240,000 local maritime economic planning grant. Due to an evolving economy, which continues to respond to such pressures as fishing regulation and climate change, Gloucester is looking to capitalize on new opportunities in marine research and product development. The City will embark on a planning process to update the 2014 Gloucester Harbor / DPA Master Plan, to reinforce its seafood industry base while taking into consideration the challenges of climate change and opportunities in the marine research and development sector and life sciences cluster.

Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Theken said, “Gloucester Harbor is the city’s most valuable asset, making planning for its future central to all economic and community development activity. Updating our harbor plan will allow us to strategically plan for growth by capitalizing on new opportunities while leveraging our unique assets to support job creation, business expansion, and economic development.”

Also at today’s meeting, Lt. Governor Polito announced the opening of the second round of the Massachusetts Dredging Program. This standalone grant program offers focused funding for saltwater dredging on a competitive, annual basis. Grant funding will help coastal communities maintain and improve their navigational waterways and support the long-term growth and sustainability of the state’s blue economy. Last year, the Administration awarded a total of $4.1 million to five communities: Beverly, Chatham, Dennis, Hingham and Nantucket.

All Massachusetts coastal communities are eligible to apply to the dredging program’s 2020 grant round. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis, with an emphasis placed on shovel-ready projects that contribute to the economic significance, recreational value, public safety, and/or coastal resiliency of Massachusetts’ coastal harbors. Applications are being accepted between March 18, 2020 and April 1, 2020 and will be evaluated by the program administrator, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED), in consultation with the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management. EOHED requires a minimum 50% match for any application to be considered.

Applications for the Massachusetts Dredging Program 2020 grant round are posted March 4, 2020 and are due April 1, 2020. Learn more at

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 Massachusetts Dredging Program awards, to ensure that coastal communities can improve, strengthen, and protect the Commonwealth’s coastal assets.

Seaport Economic Council Grant Recipients

Beverly – $48,000
Beverly Commercial Fishing Pier Repair

Dartmouth – $64,000
Dartmouth Dias Town Landing Feasibility Study

Dennis – $240,000
Sesuit Harbor Municipal Marina Renovation Project

Fairhaven – $1,000,000
Fairhaven Union Wharf Sheet Wall Replacement

Gloucester – $240,000
Gloucester Municipal Harbor Planning

Mattapoisett Long Warf Restoration – $216,000

Mattapoisett Municipal Waterways Plan – $120,000

Salem Wharf Deepwater Berth Repair – $840,000

Salem Municipal Harbor Planning – $160,000