March 17, 2017
By Times Staff
By John Lynds
Since 1997, the Piers Park Sailing Center (PPSC) has provided free sailing for inner city children living in East Boston who otherwise would never get the chance to acquire the invaluable skill that not only teachers the science of sailing but unmeasurable life lessons.
However, according to several sources, at the end of the sailing season last fall PPSC was forced to layoff its year-round employees because there was no money left to keep the program going.
Now, there is talk in the community that unless a miracle happens, PPSC may not come back in the summer to run its a widely popular youth summer programs and all other programs for the foreseeable future.
“Basically, the situation is that the Piers Park Sailing Center ran into financial difficulties at the end of last season when a large grant they were counting on did not materialize,” said Piers Park Board member Mary Cole. “The sailing center found itself with no money in the bank, and a maxed out line of credit. The Board of Directors personally–out of their own pockets–covered staff salaries for the last month to keep the center open and finish out the season. They also paid personally for crane services and wrapping supplies to winterize the boats.”
Cole, an Eastie resident who recently joined the board along with fellow Eastie resident, Mike Bruno, have been working with the rest of the board to figure out ways to save the Sailing Center.
“We have been working hard to raise the funds to re-open the center,” said Cole. “We have been talking to MassPort since last fall, and have also had constructive conversations with our elected officials, as well as with Piers PAC and the East Boston Foundation.”
The East Boston Foundation has provided a grant of $12,500 with the potential to raise and additional $12,500 in matching funds.