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State Senator

Andrew Maynard

Deputy Majority Leader

Representing Griswold, Groton, North Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington & Voluntown

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Contact: Adam Joseph
860-240-8671

January 25, 2016

Mystic Seaport to be Awarded $2 Million Grant Thanks to Senator Andrew Maynard

The office of State Senator Andrew Maynard (D-Stonington) today announced that Mystic Seaport will receive $2 million in state funding to assist with the construction of a new exhibition building. The request for funding is included on this month’s State Bond Commission agenda and is expected to be approved at its meeting on January 29.

Senator Maynard organized and participated in meetings last month with the Governor’s Office and officials from Mystic Seaport advocating on behalf of the project.

The Thompson Exhibition Building will house a state-of-the art 5,000 square foot exhibit gallery —the largest of the Museum’s seven galleries. The new building will provide the type of conditions required to permit the borrowing of outstanding art and artifacts from other museums around the world. The building will also have a visitors’ entrance, retail space, and a meeting and lecture room.

Currently, existing facilities allow only 10 percent of the Seaport’s collection to be exhibited at any time. Once completed, the building will feature frequently changing, world-class exhibitions in a way unprecedented for Mystic Seaport. It is anticipated that this will draw a 20 percent increase in Museum visitors, while also increasing the frequency of recurring visitors going forward.

The exhibition hall is scheduled to open by the fall of 2016.

In a December letter to Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Sen. Maynard wrote, “The Thompson Exhibition Building is central to Mystic Seaport’s ongoing transformation. The building expands the Museum’s capacity as a cultural institution, strengthens the state’s tourism industry, and adds to our ability to attract and retain top talent to the state’s workforce based on a high quality of life.”

“Connecticut’s economy benefits significantly from tourism,” said Governor Malloy. “Under recent years, this sector of our economy has evolved into a $14 billion industry, supporting more than 80,000 direct tourism jobs statewide and continuing to grow. The Mystic Seaport continues to be a major draw in the southeastern region of our state, and this project is one for which Senator Maynard has advocated passionately. I am glad that we can continue to support the region with this grant.”

“Mystic Seaport was delighted to learn that our Thompson Exhibition Building project has been added to the January 29, 2016 State Bond Commission agenda for a grant of $2 million,” said Steve White, President of Mystic Seaport. “The new building gives us a state-of-the-art, world-class exhibition facility that will fortify a year-round business model and support our role as the nation’s leading maritime museum. The state’s investment in the Thompson Exhibition Building leverages significant support from the private sector, adds luster to the Connecticut brand, and strengthens the local and regional economy by enhancing Mystic’s role as a leading tourist destination. Senator Maynard’s support on this project has been ongoing and with his assistance we were able to demonstrate the project’s merits as we met with legislative leadership, state economic development officials and Governor Malloy. We have likewise been grateful for the support we have received from the State Office of Economic and Community Development and Governor Malloy’s interest in this important project.”

“The ongoing support and leadership from State Senator Andy Maynard was paramount in making this bond request a reality,” said Bill Turner Mystic Seaport’s Legislative Liaison. “This grant is a testament to the State of Connecticut’s support and commitment to the State’s tourism industry and the economic benefits that drive from that investment. This grant will transform Mystic Seaport and provide the Connecticut community with a state of the art exhibition space to be enjoyed by students, educators and the international visitor to Mystic Seaport. The Mystic Seaport is a treasure for Connecticut and I am thrilled to see it continue to shine.”

“When Sen. Maynard and I met nearly two weeks ago to discuss his priorities for southeastern Connecticut, securing funding to grow the Mystic Seaport was near the top of his list,” said Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). “Sen. Maynard’s strong advocacy was critical in making today’s announcement possible.”

Mystic Seaport is one of the top-20 employers in Southeastern Connecticut and is a leading driver of tourism in the region and the state. The new exhibition building will add both temporary and permanent jobs, but it will also fortify a twelve-month business model for the museum going forward.

The State’s investment through bonds will help further Mystic Seaport’s educational mission that serves schoolchildren and educators from across the state. Over the past two years, the Seaport has seen an average of just under 30,000 students per year.

The new building will create a significant economic impact, coming just after the nationally recognized success of the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan. The Museum employs 271 people in the community. In addition, Mystic Seaport affects employment and total sales output in Connecticut’s economy is several ways. Its direct impact through workers and sales is readily visible. The indirect impact is considerable, as well. As stated in a report by the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis, “The role of Mystic Seaport in Connecticut’s economy is unmistakable. It draws tourists from all over the northeast (and, indeed, the world), increases the state’s gross regional product, and creates jobs statewide.” (The Economic Impact of Mystic Seaport: 2015 by Stanley McMillen, PhD and Troy Helming.) Bonding from the State of Connecticut for the Thompson Exhibition Building will expand this highly evident economic impact, both in the short and long term.

 

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