The board of the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust has voted to explore the acquisition of the building that now houses the Edgartown library.
Chris Scott, executive director of the preservation trust, said the board voted unanimously at its meeting Friday, Dec. 9, to accept the library design committee’s invitation to play a role in deciding the fate of the library, a historic building that was financed by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
When the board “sees an opportunity like this,” he said, “they are very, very affirmative.”
Last week. Mr. Scott said the library design committee wanted to explore working with the preservation trust in deciding the outcome of the brick building on North Water street, a building that some say no longer suits Edgartown’s library needs. A proposal to build a new library on the site of the old Edgartown school is expected to come before voters at the annual town meeting.
If the proposal to build a new library goes forward, the preservation trust would be open to acquiring the building, Mr. Scott said. The brick building meets all the criteria for acquisition, he said, with historic importance, a history of community use, a central location and handsome architecture. The building could potentially continue to serve a cultural and educational purpose in town, Mr. Scott said, under the stewardship of the preservation trust or another group.
Discussions will continue at the library design committee’s meeting on Monday, with the eventual outcome of the building, and the proposal to build a new library, resting in the hands of Edgartown voters. He said the library design committee will also talk about appraisals of the Captain Warren House, a property Edgartown purchased with the idea of expanding the Carnegie library, which is located next door. Plans to do so hit roadblocks, like parking limitations that make it unlikely that a library expansion would receive state funding.
The eventual fate of the Carnegie building is going to be “part of a lot of things the town discusses,” Mr. Scott said.
“I’m excited about it,” he said. “It’s going to be an interesting process, working with the town and the community.”