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Seaport grants will help fund riverfront projects

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  Two recent state grants will go a long way to helping the city improve the riverfront at the Pines and Saugus Rivers. The larger of the two grants from the Seaport Economic Council is $1 million to construct the first phase of a public walkway around the perimeter of the master-planned public/private mixed-use development in the 19-acre plus riverfront area.

  In 2020, the Seaport Economic Council helped fund a masterplan for the area that includes Gibson Park, the G&J towing site and a former boatyard. Since the completion of the plan, the city has moved forward with plans for upgrades to the park and purchased the boatyard for conversion to a community boating center. Redgate, a private developer, is slated to build a residential/commercial building on the G&J property.

  A key recommendation from the public input part of the master planning process was the creation of a walkway to allow public access to the Pines and Saugus riverbanks where none now exists. Another of the key points of the master plan was the creation of a nonmotorized community boating center on the site where the dilapidated boatyard has stood for decades on the banks of the Pines River. An additional $35,000 grant from the Seaport Economic Council will support the final design and permitting of a dockage system and related waterside resilience improvements for that process.

  “These grants are really going to help with the Riverfront walkway, which is imperative and much needed for the city,” said City Council President Gerry Visconti. “Once that is done, it’s going to be exciting to see that gateway to our city, so I can’t wait to see it happen.”

  In the fall of 2021, the City Council approved a $1.725 million bond for the acquisition of the boatyard property by eminent domain. Overall, the goal is to create a community center for rowing and small craft kayaks, David Bois of feasibility study consultant Arrowstreet stated in the spring. All options for the space include community space, gym areas and additional amenities in addition to boat storage.

  The Revere grants were part of nearly $10.8 million in Seaport Economic Council grants for 19 projects. The grants will help coastal communities advance projects that benefit commercial maritime industries, improve resident and visitor access to waterfront assets, mitigate the impacts of climate change and advance future dredging.

  “Massachusetts’ coastal communities are home to working waterfronts, maritime industry and innovation,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “I’m proud that the Seaport Economic Council, led by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, has directed nearly $77 million since we have taken office to strengthen Massachusetts’ coastal communities and reinforce them for the future.”

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