The Department of Conservation and Recreation has awarded the county a $75,000 grant to help finance a beach rehabilitation project, Dukes County manager Martina Thornton informed the county commissioners last week. The money will be used to move sand from Eastville Beach in Oak Bluffs to Joseph Sylvia State Beach, which lost a considerable amount of sand during Hurricane Sandy.
The grant will not completely cover the sand transport, but would give the county “starting seed money,” Ms. Thornton said. The project is currently delayed as it is waiting for approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA will reimburse up to 75 per cent of project costs.
“Hopefully we will be ready once FEMA is ready,” Ms. Thornton said.
Commission chair Thomas Hallahan thanked Ms. Thornton for her efforts in securing the grant, a process which began last year.
In other news, commissioners received an update from Chilmark executive secretary Timothy Carroll and West Tisbury firefighter Glen DeBlase about their recent trip to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The trip was part of a Sister Islands initiative between the Vineyard and St. Vincent, and focused primarily on taking stock of firefighting services on the Caribbean island chain.
Both Mr. Carroll and Mr. DeBlase said they had found the trip enjoyable and educational.
“I went from being skeptical to thinking we really managed to do something with the group,” Mr. Carroll said. He and Mr. DeBlase toured St. Vincent with members of the police force who double as the firefighting force.
“They’re very capable firefighters and what they really need is support,” Mr. DeBlase said. He said the possibility had been raised of sending surplus equipment from the Vineyard to St. Vincent.
The commissioners unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding to further the Sister Island connection between Martha’s Vineyard and St. Vincent.
Representatives from Adult Community Education of Martha’s Vineyard came before the board requesting advice and support for becoming a sustainable education outlet.
“We are trying to build a bridge to [becoming] a stable and financially viable professional institution,” representative Susan Strane said. She added that since ACE MV’s founding five years ago “we have grown so much that funding from classes, donations and small grants are not sustaining us.”
The board said they would bring the matter before the County Advisory Board and recommended that the ACE MV group speak with the All-Island Selectmen. A County Advisory Board meeting and budget hearing scheduled for June 18 was canceled due to lack of quorum.