The schooner Ernestina, currently undergoing repairs in Maine, has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the City of New Bedford's Community Preservation Account.

The check was presented last Friday to members of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association, and announced on the Ernestina website (ernestina.org).  The report says the city contribution will be matched by the Manton Foundation, and brings the Association very close to completing its $1 million pledge toward the rehabilitation of the schooner.

The Community Preservation funding comes from city taxpayers, and is used for a variety of projects including preserving open space, maintaining historic sites, expanding housing opportunities and boosting tourism through the preservation of  a community's historic and natural resources.

The Ernestina was built in 1894, and after years of exploration and serving as a packet ship between Cape Verde and the United States, the Cape Verdean government gifted the vessel to the U.S. in 1982.  According to the website, the Ernestina-Morrissey is a matter of pride for the Cape Verdean American community.

The vessel is now the property of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is home-ported in New Bedford.  When repairs are completed, the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association hopes to see the vessel working as a cultural and educational vessel, and resume its place as a focal point on the New Bedford Waterfront.

The renovation of the Ernestina has been in the news recently.  WBSM's Ken Pittman first reported that dozens of beams of lumber earmarked for the vessel during the Lang Administration disappeared several years ago.  The lumber had been stored at the Quittacus Water Treatment plant in Lakeville, first indoors and then moved outdoors.

Mayor Jon Mitchell said last month the lumber had been mistakenly given away.  He later assigned the city's Personnel Director to conduct an investigation.  Result of the investigation are expected early in 2019.