State approves 99-year lease for Onset Bay Discovery Center

Aug 3, 2017

State lawmakers have paved the way for the Buzzards Bay Coalition to start its ambitious plan to transform the Onset Bathhouse into an educational and recreation hub.

A bill allowing the town of Wareham to grant the Coalition a 99-year lease for the use and renovation of the Onset Bathhouse as well as its surrounding grounds, was signed into law on Aug. 2 by Gov. Charlie Baker.

The bill, by Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton), provides the necessary legislative approval for development of the Onset Bay Discovery Center. The center will provide high-quality, on-the-water programs to the community and engage hundreds of people of all ages each year in a variety of active outdoor activities to foster connections toward the coast, officials said.

After Senate passage in early July, the bill moved to the House of Representatives for adoption. The bill’s co-sponsor in the House was Rep. Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham).

“Tremendous potential is on the horizon for Onset Bay,” Pacheco said. “We are one step closer to a thriving facility…If we want our community to care for our coasts, we have a responsibility to provide enrichment and education opportunities.”

Voters in the town of Wareham approved the long-term lease of the property at a town meeting. The bill allows the coalition to move forward with the rehabilitation of the bathhouse for the benefit of the Onset community.