Docked and loaded: Dias Landing plans unanimously approved by Select Board

Feb 13, 2023

New dockage at Dias Landing could become a reality as soon as spring 2024.

During its Feb. 13 meeting, plans to create additional boating facilities and secure in-water and landside storage options for watercraft and kayaks were presented and unanimously approved by the Dartmouth Select Board.

“I think it looks beautiful,” board member Heidi Brooks said.

The project is part of the Padanaram Harbor Management Plan, which was created between 2017 to 2019 and details hundreds of goals on more than a dozen different topics including water quality, land use, fishing, and public access.

It was recommended that the town determine if dockside space could be enhanced for motorboats and dinghies, with the specific consideration of creating a facility at the Arthur F. Dias Town Landing near Apponagansett Park.

According to the plans presented by Dartmouth Harbormaster Steve Melo, the current pier at the town landing would be extended to 75 feet to allow for dockage in deeper water. There would also be a “floating dock” at the end, along with side floats which would help to increase stability. 

“What we’re looking at, in terms of the marina, is not Newport, Rhode Island,” he said. “We’re trying to get small boats to access the water.”

Melo added that local businesses have been “begging” the town to create such a facility. According to the harbormaster, private marina owners have “waiting lists they can’t fulfill” of prospective boaters seeking moorings.

“The more people we can put on the water, the more ancillary business they can get,” Melo said. “All our partners are fully in support of this.”

The pier would also be elevated an additional foot-and-a-half. This, Melo said, would help to boost the structure’s “storm resilience” — something that failed during a new moon tide on Jan. 23.

“The deck of the pier [was] just barely above water,” he said. 

The cost of the project is estimated at $1.2 million. 

Melo noted that the Harbormaster's Office is expected to get $1 million from the state’s Seaport Economic Council and $200,000 in matching funds from the Community Preservation Commision.

Any additional funds would come from retained waterways earnings.

The Harbormaster said he hopes to have work begin this coming fall and have things ready by spring 2024. No dredging will be required to make these improvements.

With the Select Board’s approval, the project will next need to be cleared by the Conservation Commission, then the Army Corps of Engineers and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.