Photo, from left to right: Lieut. Governor and Council Chair Karyn Polito, Town Manager Scott C. Crabtree, and Carolyn Kirk, Council Vice Chair and Deputy Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, at the Seaport Economic Council meeting on Tuesday, August 15, 2017.
(Saugus, MA) August 30, 2017 – Town Manager Scott C. Crabtree is pleased to announce that the Seaport Economic Council awarded the Town of Saugus an additional $120,000 towards the design and permitting of the Ballard Street RiverWalk, a local development project spanned along the river aimed at providing direct access to the waterfront and economic development opportunities in the area.
The Saugus RiverWalk, when completed, will help attract local citizens and leisure visitors alike to a newly accessible and inviting part of the Saugus River and set the stage for the establishment of new restaurant and retail businesses in the area.
The Seaport Economic Council, chaired by the Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth Karyn Polito and administered by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development with support from the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, is working to challenge 78 coastal communities of Massachusetts to leverage their unique geographic advantages in order to grow jobs and the economy as well as prepare for the future as we confront the challenges posed by sea level rise and increasingly powerful coastal storms.
Lieutenant Governor Polito and the Seaport Economic Council awarded the Town with the grant during their meeting on Tuesday, August 15, 2017.
“I am extremely grateful that Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and the Seaport Economic Council have awarded the Town of Saugus additional grand funding for the continued design and permitting of the Saugus River Walk,” said Town Manager Scott Crabtree. “This partnership between the state and our local government brings us one step closer to the project’s construction and completion, which will support the town’s lobstermen and fishermen, improve public access to the riverfront, and encourage economic development. On behalf of the town, I would like to thank Lieutenant Governor Polito and the rest of the Council for their continued support.”
Saugus is one of seven communities awarded funding for their initiatives to improve coastal public infrastructure and promote maritime economic development. The Saugus RiverWalk is in one of the first rounds of projects approved by the Council under the Baker-Polito Administration. Previously, the Town was awarded $120,000 during the Seaport Economic Council’s first round of funding in November 2015 for the plan and design of the RiverWalk. Looking ahead, the Town has a potential to receive up to $3 to $3.5 million in grants during design through construction phases.
A Brief History of the RiverWalk
The Seaport Economic Council’s grant approval comes after a long history tied to the location on the banks of the Saugus River. The first iron mill in the United States was the Saugus Ironworks, a National Park site. Other mills followed in the 19th Century utilizing Saugus River hydropower.
In addition, the Saugus River has long been home to a small but vibrant fleet of commercial lobstermen. In 2003, the Town sought Seaport Council funding of badly needed renovations and improvements to Lobstermen’s Landing to better support the 26 commercial lobstermen who based their living there. With $750,000 from the Seaport Council, the Town was able to make the necessary repairs and improvements.
More recently in 2013, the Town’s Economic Development Committee launched a series of visioning sessions in which the public was invited to help craft a plan for the Saugus River waterfront. A common shared vision was to create a RiverWalk to increase public access to the river banks, to encourage the development of new tourism oriented business compatible with and supportive of the lobstering industry, and to create a seamless public pedestrian access way that connected significant public spaces and facilities along the Saugus River.
Two years ago, the Economic Development Committee proposed a Waterfront Mixed Use Overlay District zoning by-law, which was adopted by Town Meeting. This bylaw permits uses ranging from residential to light industrial, to office to hospitality enterprises.
Despite years of efforts, the Town’s lobster fleet has reduced to 20 licensed commercial fishermen. Now, the Town believes it is essential to introduce new facilities and businesses to help bolster the lobster fleet. With grant money from the Seaport Economic Council for the design and permitting for a new RiverWalk, the Town believes that reinvigoration of Lobsterman’s Landing is possible.
For more information, please contact the Town Manager’s office at 781-231-4111.
About The Town of Saugus
The Town of Saugus, Massachusetts, is a family-friendly, historic neighborhood Town located along the north shore, ten miles north of Boston. First settled in 1629, Saugus is home to historic sites, top-tier public services, and a thriving business community. Strong community support, a forward-thinking approach to town government, rich recreational opportunities, affordable choices, and easy access to all the amenities that Boston has to offer – they all contribute to make Saugus a Town where businesses flourish and families make their home.