Edgartown selectmen expanded the duties of the library building committee this week to include the issue of the dilapidated Capt. Warren House and future use of the Carnegie Library.
Selectman and building committee chairman Michael Donaroma suggested at Monday’s meeting that now that the state library grant decision was done, the committee should turn its attention to the more urgent matter of determining what should become of the North Water street buildings.
Two weeks ago the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners awarded the West Tisbury library $2.9 million in the first round of grants; Edgartown was placed on a wait list. The Edgartown Library Committee had requested $5 million for a new facility at the old Edgartown School on Edgartown-West Tisbury Road.
The state only distributed $27 million of the $60 million earmarked for Massachusetts town and city library projects. Edgartown is fourth on the waiting list.
The town bought the Warren House five years ago for $3.5 million, intending to convert it to an annex to the Carnegie building. The house dates to the 1780s, with its most recent use as an annex to the Daggett House, an inn that was converted to a private residence several years ago. The house, which sits in the North Water street district of historic whaling captain homes, is vacant and crumbling.
Early in the day on Monday the library committee met and began discussing possible ideas, including renovating the Carnegie Library and moving the council on aging from the Anchors to the North Water street location. One suggestion was to sell the Warren House and the Anchors back into private ownership, move the senior center to the Carnegie building and use the money from both sales for the new library project.
The committee hopes to have a plan in place by the April annual town meeting.
In other business Monday, selectmen voted conditional approval for a private fireworks display at the Robert Schifter home at Wasque on August 20. Approval is still needed from the fire chief, police chief and harbor master.
Town administrator Pam Dolby reported contract negotiations with Comcast remain ongoing, and that the cable provider is still working with NStar to bring service to Chappaquiddick. Mrs. Dolby said some Chappaquiddick residents are wary that the deal will never go through, but selectman and board chairman Arthur Smadbeck said he is optimistic.
“It’s something of the highest priority for the town of Edgartown,” Mr. Smadbeck said.
The selectmen also accepted Mort Feary’s resignation as the financial advisory committee’s representative to the community preservation committee. Thomas Durawa was appointed to replace him.