Edgartown selectmen Tuesday praised a proposal to have the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust take stewardship of the Edgartown library building, possibly transforming the building into a cultural and educational center, if it is replaced by a new library.
Preservation trust executive director Chris Scott told the board that both the library design committee and the preservation trust board voted in favor of having the trust play a role in the old library building’s fate if the town votes to build a new library building on the old Edgartown school site.
Mr. Scott said the brick library on North Water street, which was one of more than 1,500 libraries nationwide financed by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, could continue to play a significant role in Edgartown, making it a good fit for the trust’s acquisition. With the Martha’s Vineyard Museum moving to Vineyard Haven, Mr. Scott told the selectmen, the Carnegie library could serve as an orientation spot for Edgartown visitors, house artifacts, and would be a natural starting point for tours.
“What a wonderful, win-win proposition for the town of Edgartown,” said selectman and board chairman Arthur Smadbeck, calling the potential partnership “a match made in heaven.”
The proposal is “a good way to start the new year,” he said.
In other business, the selectmen voted to allow the removal of a honey locust tree at 8 South Water street. Town tree warden Stuart Fuller supported removal of the tree, which he said is leaning heavily and shadowed by the landmark Pagoda tree across the street. Property owner Eugene Courtney said he would replace the tree within the next year, and selectmen said that replacing the tree now might save the town from having to deal with it in the event that it falls over.
Selectmen approved the Main Street Diner’s request to change from a year-round to seasonal alcohol license, signaling the restaurant’s intent to change to a seasonal business, said owner Glenn Ward. Though the restaurant has been open year-round for 40 years, and has been so far this year, Mr. Ward said staff and patrons are too hard to come by in the off-seasons.
“You gave it a gallant try,” said selectman Michael Donaroma.
Planning board assistant Georgiana Greenough gave an update on the effort to gain better cell phone service for Katama and Chappaquiddick, saying that a draft request for proposals for a digital antennae system at Katama Farm or other town-owned land is ready to be reviewed by town counsel. Last fall, voters at a special town meeting approved using the old silos at Katama Farm to host cell phone antennas.
The selectmen also signed an affordable housing covenant through Edgartown’s buy-down program with Doug and Amy Heil, the latest Edgartown residents to receive a housing subsidy through the program. The Heils received a $200,000 subsidy toward their purchase of a $430,000 home at 23 Sparrow Lane, according to affordable housing administrator Sibel Suman. In November, the board signed housing convenants for two other homes, and Ms. Suman said the program will match two more affordable homes with owners, one in the next few weeks and another by early February.
A proposal to donate the old Edgartown school’s kitchen equipment to the West Tisbury school for a kitchen renovation project was approved. The selectmen also announced that the Edgartown fire department recently won a $920 volunteer fire assistance grant, and accepted $22,000 in dredge funds from the Cow Bay Association.