Town receives $1 million grant for maritime center

Feb 5, 2017

A $1 million grant application for a maritime center in Padanaram was approved, pushing the town's new visitor's center forward.

The Seaport Economic Council recently approved the town's application for a $1 million state grant. Town officials said construction for the $1,208,909 project could start by 2018.

The single-story, 530 square-foot public maritime center and pier will include a public deck to give residents and visitors to Padanaram a place to enjoy the harbor, a public boat ramp, two bathrooms and two showers, and a 14-by-14-foot, multi-purpose room to be used as a welcome center and seasonal office for the harbormaster. The center will be located on town-owned land at the corner of Bridge and Water streets.

Town Administrator David Cressman said the next step of the project is to obtain official contract documents, and start with permitting. He hopes permitting will be finished by December 2017. Construction can begin in 2018 at the earliest, he said.

Voters approved the appropriation of $208,909 from the Waterways Department, the Department of Public Works, and Community Preservation Act funds for the maritime center at the October Town Meeting.

The Waterways Department would fund the construction of a dinghy storage rack and an aluminum gangway for the project, totaling $13,500, while DPW would contribute $9,200 for new pavement.

CPA funds — raised through a a 1½ percent property tax surcharge — will cover the $186,209 difference.

There was some uncertainty surrounding the grant, as the original application had included the $765,000 purchase of 4 Water Street for the project. That proposal was rejected by Town Meeting voters in spring 2016, partly due to dangerous waters, the $765,000 purchase of the property itself, lack of parking, and the town-owned landing bordering the property that needs updating. Town officials submitted a revised grant application by November 1.

The voter-approved proposal adds parking — although voters did comment that three of the five spots are reserved for the harbormaster, the bridge tender, and a handicap space — and officials assured voters that the location's proximity to the bridge offers some shelter from rough waters.

Town officials worked with CLE Engineering and Saltonstall Architects for the project proposal.

The Seaport Economic Council convened on February 2 in Fall River with Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Deputy Secretary Carolyn Kirk. It reviewed and voted on grant proposals that had been submitted by various maritime communities in the Commonwealth.