Morss Pier, seawall project completed  

PAUL BILODEAU/Staff photoLt. Gov. Karyn Polito, surrounded by local and state officials, speaks during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Morss Pier and Seawall Repair Project which received $327,000 from the Seaport Economic Council in 2017.

MANCHESTER — Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and state Rep. Brad Hill celebrated the completion of the Morss Pier and seawall revitalization project with local officials Thursday afternoon.

Started in January, the project sought to fill in sinkholes behind the seawall, which extends from the pier to Beach Street. The sinkholes were beginning to damage the road near the back parking lot behind Masconomo Park. In addition, the project fixed some of the pier’s pile foundation and decking issues.

It was made possible by a $327,000 grant from the state Seaport Economic Council, which Polito chairs. An additional $100,000 was used from Community Preservation Fund.

Morss Pier is a revenue maker for the town, as fishermen and lobstermen use it to load and unload their hauls. According to the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, the town’s lobstermen 191,000 pounds of the crustacean in 2017, a haul worth an estimated $4 million. Boaters also dock at the pier when they want to visit downtown shops and restaurants. 

The Morss Pier project is one of 83 projects across the state funded by the Seaport Economic Council since it was founded four years ago. In total, more than $40 million dollars in grants have been issued so far. 

Last year, Polito came to Manchester to celebrate the end of the town’s harbor dredging project, which was funded in part by a $500,000 grant from the MassWorks Infrastructure Program. The Seaport Economic Council also gave the town $15,000 to buy floats for the new dock by the boat ramp near Town Hall. 

“One of the hallmarks of our administration’s success is that we value our partners on the local level,” Polito said. “I think my years of services as former selectmen, state legislator and now lieutenant governor, I think this is the strongest I’ve seen the state-local partnership in my public service, and it’s really producing dividends for the communities and regions in our commonwealth.”

Hill,said he is “forever grateful” for the administration’s focus on all communities in the commonwealth, including the smaller ones. 

“This was a very important project for this community,” he continued, “It was something that needed to be done, and I’m not sure if it could have been done without the state.”

In a brief comment, Selectman Eli Bowling thanked local committees, especially the Harbor Committee and Harbormaster Bion Pike, for putting together “well-planned” projects that “work efficiently” and “are executed cleanly.” 

According to Town Administrator Gregory Federspiel, the town had recently applied for another seaport grant to fund the construction of a maritime center and harbormaster office off Days Harbor.

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com.