Officials tour prospective Cape Wind staging site

By Charis Anderson

NEW BEDFORD — The city is exploring the South Terminal area as one of several possible sites along the harbor that could serve as the staging port for Cape Wind, a proposal to build 130 wind turbines over a 25-mile stretch of Nantucket Sound, Mayor Scott W. Lang confirmed Thursday.

Lt. Gov. Tim Murray got a glimpse of the site from the water Thursday afternoon during a boat tour of the harbor with Lang and other city officials.

“We’d be interested in working with the city to try and invest in infrastructure that creates jobs,” Murray said. “We think a lot of the investment in maritime infrastructure pays dividends in terms of creating jobs.”

Murray said the Patrick administration had made it clear to the Cape Wind developers that it wants jobs created by the project to be in Massachusetts.

“We think New Bedford clearly has a lot of the assets required to meet (Cape Wind’s) needs,” said Murray.

New Bedford Economic Development Director Matthew Morrissey said the city is working closely with members of the Patrick administration to position New Bedford as a hub for the emerging offshore renewable energy industry.

“We’ve got a lot of undeveloped land,” said Lang. “We’re looking at different sites around the city that we think have the potential for long-term economic development.”

Mark Rodgers, communications director for Cape Wind, said the developers were still considering both New Bedford and Quonset Point, R.I., as possible staging port locations.

Cape Wind wasn’t the only project discussed during the boat tour: the lieutenant governor also got an up-close look at the renovations to the State Pier building as well as the construction work recently started on the boat ramp on East Rodney French among others.

Kristin Decas, executive director of the city’s Harbor Development Commission, also pointed out the color-coded mooring buoys that are being installed throughout the harbor.

A different color has been assigned to each type of mooring — residential, commercial, marine industrial and HDC transient — making it easy for vessels to figure out where to go, said Decas.

“You’re seeing the boat ramp infrastructure come online, too, so it will be a good synergy,” she said.

About 60 of the new moorings have been installed, said Decas, and the approach of Hurricane Earl, which is prompting many vessels to seek shelter in New Bedford Harbor, is a good test of the new system.

“It’s been quite an opportunity to showcase the port,” she said.

Many of the ongoing harbor projects are funded through the Seaport Advisory Council, which Murray chairs, and the city has secured funding from the council for additional projects, including a port-wide camera surveillance system and repairs to the commercial fish piers, according to Decas.

According to Murray, the city has laid out a clear vision and strategy, and the Patrick administration, along with the city’s legislative delegation, has worked hard to secure funding.

“I think we see a lot of the things that are happening now and the potential to grow it,” said Murray.
September 03, 2010 12:00 AM

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