Marshfield: New option possible for funding seawall repair

Marshfield selectmen, the DPW, Planning Department and a seawall task force led by Selectman John Hall have grappled with how to fund millions of dollars to repair crumbling coastline infrastructure. The inter-department group has considered the alternatives, the DPW has completed engineering for the most critical length of protection, and April Town Meeting will consider funding of $5 million for that much needed repair.

Monday night, selectmen learned they may have a match for that $5 million from the state. The state legislature has approved a bill filed by Representative Jim Cantwell to help fund infrastructure improvements.

“That legislation now will create a fund that will provide revolving loans and grants that will help with much needed repairs of sea walls, jetties, revetments all up and down the coast,” Cantwell said.

The $17 million to $20 million funding will come from unspent monies in an unused coastal sewer program. Half will go to improve or remove dams, a deal Cantwell made with inland legislators.

If Governor Deval Patrick signs the legislation in the next week, between $17 million and $20 million of unused coastal protection monies will be placed in a new fund to give grants or low-interest loans. Towns like Marshfield, Scituate and Hull, that have suffered damage and have taken action on their own, will top the priority list.

About Charles Mathewson

Charles Mathewson worked in print journalism for more than two decades as a reporter and editor. He won several regional and national awards. He resides in Plymouth where he writes fiction and paints, when not producing award-winning news as a reporter for WATD.