Lynn gets final $3.2M for ferry

June 22, 2012
By Chris Stevens/The Daily Item

The state Seaport Advisory Council held its monthly meeting under an awning at the water’s edge on Blossom Street extension on Thursday and voted unanimously to award $3,227,000 to the Lynn Economic Development and Industrial Corporation for Phase III of the Lynn commuter ferry project.

“I think the work getting done here is important because it sets the tone for Lynn to be a Gateway City,” said Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, chairman of the Council. He said the grant to fund the final phase of preparation work “keeps the [ferry] project moving.”

About 50 city and state officials braved the heat, albeit shaded by an awning, to attend the meeting at which awards for projects in Salem and Gloucester were also approved.

EDIC Executive Director James Cowdell said it was Murray who suggested the meeting be held outside on Blossom Street to showcase the Lynn waterfront view.

State Sen. Thomas McGee, left, and Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, right, after the Seaport Advisory meeting on the Pier at Blossom Street Extension Thursday.
State Sen. Thomas McGee, left, and Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, right, after the Seaport Advisory meeting on the Pier at Blossom Street Extension Thursday. (Item Photo / Owen O'Rourke)

“This is a total of $5 million invested in the commuter ferry project,” Cowdell said. “It’s a true investment not just in the ferry but the entire waterfront. Things are about to happen here.”

Phase I of the ferry project was completed in 2008 when EDIC rebuilt the boat ramp at the end of Blossom Street Extension, tore down an old building that Cowdell said was a bait shop when he was young, upgraded drainage and put down new asphalt for the driveway.

According to Cowdell, Phase II, which will be completed in 10 days, includes installing a steel bulkhead that protects the shoreline while also expanding the waterfront access from 60 feet to 150 feet.

The final $3.2 million will pay for dredging, installation of a 60-foot wave attenuator, a new pier and final upland improvements such as new sidewalks, park amenities, paving, striping and lighting, Cowdell said. He said it would take about a year to complete the final phase, after which the site will be ready to berth a ferry.

“I want to emphasize that this (ferry) will be able to operate 52 weeks a year,” Cowdell said. “It will hold 149 passengers and EDIC owns that parking lot and will provide free parking to commuters.”

Seaport Advisory Council Executive Secretary Louis Elisa called the waterfront projects sustainable growth. Murray said the Lynn plan could help trigger immeasurable change for the city, create a gateway and provide jobs.

McGee said he had been anticipating the moment that the advisory council would approve the final funding but it still gave him a jolt of excitement when he heard the unanimous vote. He said he saw a study about 12 years ago that said Lynn would be ripe for a ferry and he knew people would think it was crazy.

“You just need a vision,” he said.

McGee said if you can talk about that vision and convince people that it will make a difference and get them to buy into it, things will happen.

“It’s about enhancing the city, making it a gateway to the North Shore … this is a huge step in the right direction and it is exciting,” he said.

“It’s days like this you can see that vision” Murray added taking in the ocean view with a sweep of his arm. “The development capabilities could really transform this city, how it sees itself and how others see it.”

“This is five years of progress,” Cowdell said, smiling broadly. “To see it happening, it is really exciting.”

Chris Stevens can be reached at

Back to News