The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) has donated more than 10 boats and thousands of dollars worth of sailing equipment to the Piers Park Sailing Center (PPSC) in order to help maintain the valuable community program that has allowed hundreds of local youths to discover the joy of sailing. Massport started the East Boston Piers Park Sailing Program in 1995 to provide the public with affordable recreational sailing opportunities in Boston Harbor. In 1997, Massport contracted with the PPSC to run the program and they have been credited with turning a good idea into a successful reality for neighborhood families.
Under the terms of the agreement, Massport has donated the boats and equipment to the PPSC and licensed the sailing program offices for five years with an option for a five year extension. With these assets, worth at least $200,000, the PPSC will be much better positioned to pursue fund-raising and loan opportunities to keep the program running. In addition, Massport will continue to provide a variety of services at no cost, including use of the dock, boat storage and utilities.
When Massport implemented its recent fiscal recovery plan in response to a dramatic reduction in airline travel, it was forced to cut its $220,000 annual subsidy of the sailing program. Since then, the authority has worked to help the community program continue while adhering to budgetary constraints.
The PPSC is a community based initiative that has taught more than 500 local youths to sail and works as an active steward of the Boston Harbor by promoting appreciation and environmental awareness. The program also offers sailing opportunities to the disabled and hosts several community events and regattas.