Onset Bathhouse rehabilitation project awarded $350,000 grant

Feb 14, 2018

Onset Bathhouse renovations could begin as early as this year, after a $350,000 grant was awarded to help fund a multi-million dollar project to transform the building into a regional boating center.

The Buzzards Bay Coalition applied for the grant and has also done significant fundraising for the project, known as the Onset Bay Discovery Center. The New Bedford-based nonprofit works to improve the health of the bay through education, conservation, research and advocacy. The grant was awarded by the Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council, a state agency.

“The amount of fundraising that’s been done by the Buzzards Bay Coalition has really gone well,” said Town Administrator Derek Sullivan at Tuesday’s Selectmen meeting. “These funds mean that in the fall, they can literally break ground on starting the changes.”

A bill allowing the Town of Wareham to give the Buzzards Bay 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 Onset Bay Discovery Center would provide high-quality, on-the-water programs to the community. The goal is to engage hundreds of people of all ages in a variety of outdoor activities to foster connections with the coast, officials said. When finished, the center will serve as headquarters for a full-time staff dedicated to facilitating a myriad of water programs, designed to get kids exploring Buzzards Bay.

Sullivan said he hopes Buzzards Bay Coalition representatives can come to a Selectmen meeting soon to discuss their plans going forward.