Select Board moves forward with alternative maritime center plan

Jul 5, 2016

After Town Meeting voters rejected the proposal to purchase property for a maritime center in Padanaram, a few locals are fighting to repurpose the $1 million grant that would have funded the project.

The $1 million grant from the Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council would have covered the $765,000 purchase of 4 Water Street, the first step in a $1.7 million proposal for a recreational park and public boating facility that would increase public access to the water and promote economic development. This option was rejected by voters at the June 7 Town Meeting, and the potential to use $466,000 in Community Preservation Act funds—which are raised through a 1½ percent property tax surcharge—for project funding withdrawn.

Community members Patricia Sweriduk and Kevin Murphy started researching alternatives for the $1 million grant, and were well received by the Select Board on June 27.

“It is up to us to make sure we have an alternative plan and that we move forward with the alternative plan so that we do not lose the grant money from the Seaport Economic Council,” Sweriduk.

Their plan utilizes land already owned by the Town, between 4 Water Street and the bridge. Their $1.2 million proposal includes a two-story structure that would house a visitor’s center, public restrooms, and the harbormaster’s office, a concrete dock system, a deck, dinghy storage rack, and an ADA-compliant ramp.

“We’ve really gotten down to a lot of detail so we can move forward with this quickly and efficiently,” said Sweriduk, mentioning that the two had already talked to the Conservation Commission, design firm, a dock and float builder, Department of Public Works, the Padanaram business community, and a fence designer.

“I want to do what we can to not lose the $1 million in this town. It’s something that doesn’t happen very often and it’d be a shame for us to lose it,” said Board member Frank Gracie, who suggested creating a committee to expedite the process. The deadline for new applications was June 22, but the Select Board is unsure of a deadline for reallocating grant monies.

Board member John Haran said a meeting with the Seaport Economic Council in Boston was immediately necessary to ensure the grant funding.

The Board concluded by allotting $10,000 to Town Administrator David Cressman to find an architect for the project by July 25. The Board also officially appointed Sweriduk and Murphy as the two first members of the Water Street Landing Rehabilitation Committee, with Cressman to make suggestions so that the Town is also represented in the committee. The Board also agreed to address the Community Preservation Committee to secure funds from the former proposal.