QUINCY — The Baker-Polito Administration awarded a total of $4,150,000 Tuesday for five marine infrastructure projects, including two on the SouthCoast.

Also announced was a new initiative, the SEC Grand Challenge, to leverage Massachusetts’ innovation economy for the benefit of our coastal communities.

The Seaport Economic Council will make up to $500,000 available to the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech) to support innovative solutions for marine and coastal communities.

The Seaport Economic Council approved the awards at today’s meeting in Quincy, which was chaired by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. Since 2015, the Seaport Economic Council has awarded $28 million through 61 grants in 36 Coastal Communities.

The Grand Challenge Program represents an opportunity to offer innovative solutions to improve marine and coastal community resources in Massachusetts. The Internet of Things (IoT) represents technology and business innovations that can enhance the economic potential of our ocean and coastal resources that contribute to the prosperity of the Commonwealth, and provide potential solutions to today’s environmental challenges. The Grand Challenge will focus on projects that address maritime communications, maritime performance and data analysis, and commercial fishing, and cover a broad range of subjects, including aquaculture, shipping, marine biotechnology, offshore renewable energy, marine robotics and more.

The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) and the Seaport Economic Council (SEC) will partner with the MassTech to fund projects that leverage the strength of IoT technologies to improve our marine and coastal communities. The Grand Challenge will encourage entrepreneurs and technology firms to work with nonprofits, research institutions, municipalities, or other public authorities on the deployment of new and novel IoT-based technology or business solutions to address important opportunities in the Marine Economy.

Two SouthCoast projects received Seaport Economic Council Awards:

New Bedford HDC Central Command Center - $1,000,000
SEC funds will help fund the construction of a command center for police and fire marine personnel, and create a response/training room for port personnel to ensure coordinated and efficient communications between all agencies responsible for daily port operations and emergency response. With the increased shipping activity as a result of the state’s investment in refrigeration of the State Pier, and the growing maritime economy of the city, it is important to protect vital economic assets in case of marine emergency.

Wareham, Onset Bathhouse Rehabilitation - $350,000
SEC funds will contribute toward renovation costs of the Historic Onset Bathhouse as Headquarters of the Onset Bay Center. The future center is aimed to be a headquarters, community learning center, and boat storage facility. The Center will provide high-quality on-the-water exploration programs for thousands of people every year and engage with community members of all ages and abilities in a variety of activities focused on building a connection with Buzzards Bay.

--Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development

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