Over three years, the project will develop a plan and build support through the Corridor Alliance to diversify and expand economic opportunities from fishing and seasonal tourism industries to jobs in engine and turbine manufacturing, wind and hydro power generation, nautical systems manufacturing, and coastal water transportation technologies.
“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 State Sen. Montigny of New Bedford in a statement. “I look forward to the future development of our city’s most vital asset and the Seaport Council’s continued support.”
The New Bedford Port Authority will use its grant toward planning for redevelopment of the Sprague/Eversource site, according to Port Director Edward Anthes-Washburn. The Port Authority will look at the condition of the bulkhead and work with the private sector on reuse of the property, which is a key component of the central waterfront, he said. The plan will probably not involve the city buying the property, he said.
“We appreciate the council’s funding and the support from the delegation,” he said in an interview.
The 29-acre waterfront property has direct water access. By encouraging diverse and sustainable use of the property, the NBPA will support and create jobs in traditional and emerging blue industries, and create opportunities for the public to connect with the waterfront.
“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 State Rep. Bill Straus of Mattapoisett in a statement.
“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 State Rep. 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.”
Across the state, 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, according to the release.
Additional awards impacting SouthCoast include:
Massachusetts Maritime Academy, $1,000,000:
Seaport Economic Council funding will support the creation of a coastal emergency management simulator. The simulator will provide a training platform for undergraduate and graduate emergency management students, and assist coastal communities statewide in developing and strengthening disaster preparation, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts.
University of Massachusetts System, $276,854:
Seaport Economic Council funding will enable the University of Massachusetts to further enhance the fishing industry’s contribution to the economy of the Commonwealth. UMass will leverage the diverse expertise and research capacity of its five campuses to take an innovative, multidisciplinary approach, addressing aspects of the seafood economy ranging from habitat and fishery management to marketing and economic forces. In so doing, Massachusetts will be able to improve its fishing industry by both reinvigorating traditional components of the system, including diversifying catches and increasing consumption of locally caught fish, and supporting the growth of emerging segments, such as value-added products, waste recovery, fuel-efficient boats, environmental restoration, research initiatives, cultural activities, downtown development, and heritage tourism.