Buzzards Bay Coalition raises $3.45 million towards Onset bathhouse project

Aug 1, 2018

Buzzards Bay Coalition President Mark Rasmussen provided Selectmen with an update on Tuesday, July 31 for the planned renovations of the Onset bathhouse.

To date, the nonprofit has raised $3.45 million of the $5.3 million needed to turn the dilapidated building into a two-story recreational hub.

"We're over 60 percent of the way there," Rasmussen said. "So we're excited to say that yes, it's really happening."

The transformed bathhouse would host future programming and equipment for the coalition in Onset.

This summer, the nonprofit launched three, two-week programs in conjunction with the Wareham Boys & Girls Club and Wareham Cares for children ages 8 to 12. As a part of these programs, children learn to swim, sail and kayak in Onset Bay while exploring and learning about local coastal ecology.

The completed bathhouse would allow the coalition to offer year-round programming with two classrooms, bathrooms, and a locker room. The bathhouse would also provide wet storage for boats, kayaks and life jackets.

Additional renovations carried out by the coalition have removed invasive plants from both Wickets Island and Burgess Point.

A floating dock and picnic area will be added to Wickets Island later this year.

"Together with the marshes at Shell Point, we've created close to a 100 acres of conservation land," Rasmussen said.

Numerous members of the Onset community turned out to show their support for the project, including Onset Bay Association President Kat Jones.

"This project needs to go forward," one Onset resident said. "It's the best thing to happen to us in years."

Despite the support, others expressed concerns that the bathhouse would obstruct the view of the water from the bluffs.

According to Rasmussen, the Bathhouse sits at 28 feet tall with the bluffs at 26 feet.

"For most adults, the view won't be obstructed," Rasmussen said.

The coalition must next meet with the Conservation Commission on Wednesday, August 1 to receive permits for construction.

"We've had tremendous public, private and state support," Rasmussen said. "We're hoping that continues."