Onset Bathhouse rehabilitation project awarded $350,000 grant

By Lydia Goerner | Feb 13, 2018
Photo by: Lydia Goerner Selectmen Alan Slavin, left, and Anthony Scarsciotti hear about the Buzzards Bay Coalition grant at Tuesday's Selectmen meeting.

Onset Bathhouse renovations could begin as early as this year, after a $350,000 grant was awarded to help fund a multi-million dollar project to transform the building into a regional boating center.

The Buzzards Bay Coalition applied for the grant and has also done significant fundraising for the project, known as the Onset Bay Discovery Center. The New Bedford-based nonprofit works to improve the health of the bay through education, conservation, research and advocacy. The grant was awarded by the Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council, a state agency.

“The amount of fundraising that’s been done by the Buzzards Bay Coalition has really gone well,” said Town Administrator Derek Sullivan at Tuesday’s Selectmen meeting. “These funds mean that in the fall, they can literally break ground on starting the changes.”

A bill allowing the Town of Wareham to give the Buzzards Bay Coalition a 99-year lease for the use and renovation of the Onset Bathhouse, as well as its surrounding grounds, was signed into law on Aug. 2 by Gov. Charlie Baker.

The Onset Bay Discovery Center would provide high-quality, on-the-water programs to the community. The goal is to engage hundreds of people of all ages in a variety of outdoor activities to foster connections with the coast, officials said. When finished, the center will serve as headquarters for a full-time staff dedicated to facilitating a myriad of water programs, designed to get kids exploring Buzzards Bay.

Sullivan said he hopes Buzzards Bay Coalition representatives can come to a Selectmen meeting soon to discuss their plans going forward.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Theresa ONeill | Feb 14, 2018 06:25

What grant were they awarded? Where did the miney cone frim? And what are the “surrounded areas” of the bathhouse that BuzzBay Coalition has access to?

Wondering where can someone see the actual plans for this project? They should be filed with the town?

How much money does the Town of Wareham have invested in the project - whether through grants or CPA funds or land donations / lease deals?

Are there “clawback” clauses in the agreement if the BBC doesn't meet its goals, never gets started or doesn't meet its promises to the Town, changes its plans, or ceases to exist?

I have looked in the BBC website but havent seen much info


Posted by: Matthew Bernat | Feb 14, 2018 12:56

Hi Theresa,

The grant came from the Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council. I also added a link to the story from the paper's previous reporting on the center. That should answer most of your questions. If there's anything else I can help with let me know, thanks!

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