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Lynn could be an Encore Casino water shuttle destination

LYNN — City officials have floated a proposal to Encore Boston Harbor that would provide water shuttle service from the Blossom Street Ferry Terminal on the Lynnway to the casino scheduled to open this summer in Everett.

James Cowdell, Economic Development & Industrial Corporation of Lynn executive director, and Mayor Thomas M. McGee have met with Encore brass to discuss the potential water transportation option.

Cowdell said the shuttle service would be offered as a transportation option not only to Lynn residents but to others living on the North Shore.

“Encore is going to provide water transportation and we want them to consider Lynn as one of those destinations,” Cowdell said. “We feel this is a good option to them.”

In May, Encore announced it had chosen a custom luxury yacht builder in Charlestown, Boston BoatWorks, to build three European-style, 41-foot motor yachts that will shuttle Encore guests and employees year-round to points across Boston Harbor, according to an Encore press release.

The boats, built at a cost of $3 million paid by the casino, would hold 40 commuters each and “form the core fleet of a robust water transportation system that Encore is introducing,” according to the release.

Cowdell said Encore representatives were receptive to Lynn’s proposal during their first meeting. There will be subsequent meetings between the casino and city in the future.

Because it’s hard to get in and out of Everett because of traffic, which is expected to increase when the casino opens in June, water transportation from Lynn would be a viable alternative and beneficial to the casino, Cowdell said.

“(We’re) in the planning stages,” Cowdell said. “Hopefully, it leads to water transportation to the city.”

Alyssa Hiller, spokeswoman for Encore Boston Harbor, said the only planned stops for water shuttle service are the Seaport District and Financial District with several shuttles throughout the day to and from those locations.

She would not clarify how potential service would work outside Boston, but said the casino has no plans for water shuttles outside of Boston/Everett before its opening.

“At this time, we can confirm the Encore Boston Harbor water shuttles will run year-round throughout the day and evening with planned stops at the Seaport District and Financial District,” Hiller wrote in an email. “Final schedules, locations and fares have yet to be determined.”

In May, Robert DeSalvio, president of Encore Boston Harbor, said in a statement “the Encore Water Shuttle could revolutionize the use of Boston Harbor as a preferred and popular commuter pathway,” providing access to the casino with a guarantee of no traffic or parking issues.

If the casino opts to bring water shuttle service to Lynn, it would allow the city to use its $7.5 million ferry terminal, which has not been in use since ferry service to Boston was cut by Gov. Charlie Baker last summer, who cited a lack of ridership.

The mayor and state delegation have said bringing back ferry service is a priority. The city was awarded a $4.5 million federal grant to purchase a dedicated vessel for year-round, long-term ferry service, but to get the funds, the governor has said the state has to prove it can operate the ferry, or prove the benefits associated with it.

Cowdell said the city continues to secure funding on a daily basis in an attempt to bring back the ferry, but there’s no targeted time frame to resume service.

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