NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — The City of New Bedford received a federal grant on Friday that will go towards the Leonard's Wharf Rehabilitation and Extension Project in the Port of New Bedford.

The City received $24 million in funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation's Port Infrastructure Development Program, which will be used to rebuild the wharf to continue as a commercial fishing pier.

First constructed in the 19th century, Leonard's Wharf was built as a pier for whaling ships who used the Port of New Bedford for their expeditions.

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In the 20th century, the wharf became a site for fisheries and has been identified by offshore wind developers as a site for offshore wind projects.

An inspection in 2021 found that the pier was deteriorating and that $44 million worth of repairs were required for continued site use.

According to Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (D), the funding comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed by President Joe Biden in 2021.

Warren said the funding will help revitalize the fishing industry and bolster the offshore wind industry.

"For years, Leonard's Wharf has been a driver in our local economy, from serving as a pier for vessels to supporting Massachusetts' thriving fishing industry," Warren said.

"Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that my colleagues and I fought for, this nearly $25 million in federal funding will be critical to rebuilding Leonard's Wharf by improving its infrastructure and providing resilience against the climate crisis," she said.

Courtesy City of New Bedford
Courtesy City of New Bedford

Earlier this year, Governor Maura Healey's administration pledged $18 million towards the rehabilitation project.

Healey said the additional $24 million in funding from the Department of Transportation brings the project close to completion.

"Our administration was proud to pledge $18 million to the Leonard's Wharf Rehabilitation and Extension project as part of our commitment to competing for and winning federal dollars that support our climate and economic development goals while also creating good paying union careers," Healey said.

"We are grateful to President Biden, Secretary Buttigieg and our Congressional partners for their historic investment in our communities, and we congratulate Mayor Mitchell and the City of New Bedford on this exciting award," she said.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell expressed his gratitude towards the Biden and Healey administrations for the grants they provided towards the project.

He also thanked federal lawmakers, including Warren, Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA) for their efforts to include funding for Leonard's Wharf in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.

"This grant award is a culmination of years of planning by the New Bedford Port Authority to modernize the Port so it can enable us to establish a competitive advantage in marine industries, thereby creating jobs for our residents," Mitchell said. "The Leonard's Wharf project came to fruition through a partnership across levels of government, and I am grateful in particular for the support from our federal delegation and Governor Healey."

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