LYNN — The city has been awarded a $15,000 state grant to improve access and make saltwater fishing safer at Lynn Heritage State Park.
The grant, awarded through the Department of Fish and Games Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) Public Access Small Grant program, will go toward installing flood lights at the gazebo on the park’s pier, according to James Marsh, the city’s community development director.
Today, fishermen still make use of the unlighted pier in the early morning and nighttime hours. When the lighting is installed on July 1, fishing may become safer at the popular location, managed between the city and the state Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Marsh said the grant funding is tied into the makeover Heritage State Park is getting, along with plans the city has for a more developed waterfront. Next door to the park is the long-awaited redevelopment of the Beacon Chevrolet site, a $90 million, 332-apartment project scheduled for a groundbreaking this spring.
“(The lighting) is a way to attract people to our waterfront, make it safe and specifically for the grant to give more people from Lynn access to fishing,” Marsh said.
Ward 7 Councilor Jay Walsh initiated the city’s interest in going after the grant. A recreational saltwater fisher himself, Walsh became curious about where the $10 fee from his saltwater fishing license was going and found out it went into a state fund to improve access to the sport.
According to a DMF press release, under state law that established the recreational saltwater fishing permit in 2011, one-third of all license fees are dedicated to infrastructure projects that ensure better access to coastal fishing.
“When you look at the city and you try to find opportunity for people to recreate, this was a good opportunity,” Walsh said. “It’s a good thing to go with your family, so if we can improve that and make it a little safer down there … it gives people something to do.”
In the future, Marsh said the city will apply for grant funding through the program for other popular saltwater fishing areas, such as the Blossom Street ferry terminal.
Lynn was one of four communities to receive grant funding. Others were Beverly, New Bedford and Marshfield.