State approves 99-year lease for Onset Bay Discovery Center

Aug 03, 2017
Photo by: Matthew Bernat Officials stand behind an architect's rendering of the Onset Bay Discovery Center during a ceremony earlier this summer.

State lawmakers have paved the way for the Buzzards Bay Coalition to start its ambitious plan to transform the Onset Bathhouse into an educational and recreation hub.

A bill allowing the town of Wareham to grant the 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 bill, by Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton), provides the necessary legislative approval for development of the Onset Bay Discovery Center. The center will provide high-quality, on-the-water programs to the community and engage hundreds of people of all ages each year in a variety of active outdoor activities to foster connections toward the coast, officials said.

After Senate passage in early July, the bill moved to the House of Representatives for adoption. The bill’s co-sponsor in the House was Rep. Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham).

“Tremendous potential is on the horizon for Onset Bay,” Pacheco said. “We are one step closer to a thriving facility…If we want our community to care for our coasts, we have a responsibility to provide enrichment and education opportunities.”

Voters in the town of Wareham approved the long-term lease of the property at a town meeting. The bill allows the coalition to move forward with the rehabilitation of the bathhouse for the benefit of the Onset community.

Comments (3)
Posted by: cranky pants | Aug 03, 2017 11:03

I'm for it ! It's got a special place embedded in the minds of everyone that had ever spent a day on the beach as a younger human. ( excluding the millennial generation and forward )

The smell of the burgers, the anticipation of waiting half the day to run up and get an ice cream, flip flops.. I could go on and on but I'll leave that for your creativity.  Even if this new plan didn't include the snack shack I'd still be inclined to visit. I'm looking forward to learning more of Onset's history and maybe sailing around the bay.

I've always wished they would move those boat slips out in front of the pier with better docking for visitors to pull up by boat, then again what's there works fine.

Posted by: Chaka | Aug 05, 2017 13:19

I hope this 99 year lease works out better than the 99 year lease that the Tobey House got.

Posted by: Theresa ONeill | Aug 06, 2017 06:37

This sounds like a wonderful program and opportunity and use of resources. However is there a place where this whole project can be reviewed including the architectural designs, lease, and full disclosure of money (including discounts, tax credits etc) given/allotted to this project and what remedies Wareham (Onset/ CPA / residents) has if the project does not meet it's stated goals?


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