The Baker-Polito Administration yesterday announced a $2.5 million award to the Town of Plymouth to support dredging the Inner Harbor.
The project will benefit five areas of the harbor, effecting nearly 15 acres of public tidelands, and provide substantial benefits to the local community, commercial fishermen and the tourism industry.
The Town of Plymouth will match the award with an additional $2.5 million. This announcement builds on the Administration’s rollout of the 2018 Navigational Dredging Pilot Program and recent announcement of $3.6 million in grants to support projects initiated this dredging season.
According to the Officials, the State and local funding provides for dredging that will work in conjunction with the $13.5 million federal dredging project scheduled to begin this fall with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Combined, these projects will substantially increase the harbor’s capacity, including allowing small to mid-size cruise ships to utilize the harbor as a port of call for the first time.
“This project will enable, for the first time ever, cruise ships to access Plymouth as a port of call, opening up this region for significant new tourism opportunities, and preparing the region for a major influx of visitors for Plymouth 400 in 2020,” said Lt. Governor Polito.
Dredging of the Plymouth Inner Harbor will also expand navigation for commercial lobstering and aquaculture; improve launching, docking and mooring for recreational boaters; increase response capabilities for public safety vessels; and enhance protection and preservation conditions for the Mayflower II, which is currently undergoing restoration in anticipation of the Plymouth 400th commemoration.
“Our new dredging program is the direct result of feedback we received from our coastal communities, and is an important new resource for municipalities to grow their blue economy and leverage their existing maritime assets,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash.
“Dredging will maximize the use of the new T-Wharf and the repairs to Town Wharf, two projects that the Commonwealth and the Town successfully partnered on to complete. Lastly, this work will become a legacy project for the Plymouth 400th Commemoration by ensuring that the berth for the iconic Mayflower II is sufficiently deep upon her return to Plymouth Harbor,” said Plymouth Town Manager Melissa Arrighi.
“Plymouth Harbor was last dredged more than 60 years ago and I am thrilled to see this project come to fruition and grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration for their continued support,” said Representative Mathew Muratore. “A dredged harbor will create an economic boon for years to come for our fishing, business, and tourism industries, provide additional rooms as small cruise ships will be able to anchor overnight in Plymouth Harbor, and alleviate additional parking concerns as more boats transport people into Plymouth to enjoy all that it has to offer.”
In August, Governor Baker signed economic development legislation that authorized $50 million for saltwater dredging projects, creating the first-ever program with focused funding for dredging that will build on the dredging pilot program the administration launched in July.