Town, state officials celebrate opening of Maritime Center

May 24, 2019

A new gateway to Padanaram for residents, guests, and boaters alike is now open.

On May 24, town officials, joined by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, celebrated the ribbon cutting of Dartmouth’s new Maritime Center.

The new 530 square-foot building and dock, at the corner of Bridge and Water Streets, includes bathrooms and showers, and a 14-by-14 foot multi-purpose room which will double as the Harbormaster's seasonal office.

It also includes a public dock with benches. The intent is to provide a place for transient boaters to have a place in Padanaram, as well as residents and visitors.

“I think this project highlights the revitalization and improvements that have been done in the area,” said Town Administrator Shawn MacInnes. “Padanaram Village, the causeway, it’s been really exciting. I think it’s shown that Dartmouth has some really great assets here not only on the South Coast but in the state. It’s great to share it and promote it.”

Polito has traveled to all 351 cities and towns in the commonwealth, but has visited Dartmouth at least three times. Polito, who also chairs the state’s Seaport Economic Council, came to Padanaram in 2017 after the council issued a grant to the town to build the maritime center.

What was then a parking lot and a neglected boat launch point has since given rise to the maritime center and dock.

“Two years ago, this area was the town’s eyesore,” said Waterways Commission Chairman Gerald Hickey. “Today it is the jewel entrance of our beautiful village.”

It is also, as Polito noted, a valuable connection to the rest of the state as well — just one of several state and local officials are coordinating on.

“This is a beautiful part of our Commonwealth,” Polito said. “You are blessed with natural assets, and today is just one more opportunity to show how you can enhance those assets to make it more accessible and more available to more people to enjoy.”

Polito was the first person to sign the center’s guestbook, and was presented with the photo book “Postcards of Dartmouth.”

The project was funded with $1.2 million in Seaport Economic Council grants, $200,000 in community preservation funds, and funds from the Department of Public Works and Waterways Commission.

With the ribbon cut, the Maritime Center is now open for public use. The building will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.