The Oak Bluffs Community Preservation Committee on Tuesday unveiled a list of 10 public projects slated to receive funding this year through the Community Preservation Act, which raises funds through a local real estate surcharge and matched by the state. All the community preservation funding needs final approval by voters at the annual town meeting next month.
The town adopted the Community Preservation Act in 2005, establishing a three per cent surcharge on all property tax bills while also making the town eligible to receive matching state funds. In previous years the state has matched the amount by 100 per cent; state lawmakers this year reduced that rate to 87 per cent.
Over the past two years, town voters have appropriated approximately $1.6 million for projects within the guidelines of the Community Preservation Act. To date, six of 14 projects have been completed at a cost of $342,330. Another $1.25 million has been committed to projects that have either started or are about to start.
One project approved in 2006 never got off the ground, and the allocation of $20,000 has since been returned to the community preservation committee general fund.
Adam Wilson, administrator for the zoning board and community preservation committee, presented a list to selectmen on Wednesday of the 10 projects chosen to receive funding this year. The requests approved by the community preservation committee are:
• $24,000 for window replacement at the Trinity Methodist Church. The church initially requested $64,000 to repair several church windows in need of restoration. The effort to preserve the windows ties in with the church’s commitment to preserve the whole structure.
• $15,000 for the preservation of the Eastville Beach, requested by the Eastville Beach Committee. The project is co-sponsored by the town of Tisbury, and will be used to create an information kiosk for beach regulations and birding information. The project will also build bike racks and clear shrubbery and invasive plants and re-fence the beach area.
• $18,000 for the preservation of Niantic Park, requested by the town park department, who initially asked for $80,000 to preserve the picnic pavilion and other parts of the park, including water drainage and the preservation of the communal area.
• $224,000 for the old town library conversion, requested by the affordable housing committee, who need the monies to finish the renovation that will include three affordable rental units and retail space. The project received a community preservation allocation of $250,000 last year, and a state grant of $400,000.
The project would retain the current appearance of the library, which was deemed to be historically significant by the Cottage City Historic Commission several years ago.
• $10,000 for preservation of an old town fire engine that served the town from 1929 to 1956. The request from Donald Billings was initially for $15,000. The funding will be used for various parts and mechanical rehabilitation, so the truck can be used for special events; the money will also be used to acquire historical items that will be part of the museum at the fire station.
• $42,000 for rental assistance, requested by the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority, which initially requested $60,000. The committee agreed on the lower amount to level fund the program again this year.
• $300,000 to preserve the in-town historic clay and brick bathrooms located on the North Bluff along Sea View avenue Extension. The application was a joint request between three town committees. The funding will be used to improve family and handicap accessibility, and improve the overall aesthetic so that it functions better as a welcome area for the ferry terminal.
• $75,000 for shoreline engineering of the town beach front, requested by the conservation commission. Members of the conservation commission will use the funds for an engineering study and to create a plan to reinforce the fragile coastline. A portion of a retaining wall suddenly collapsed last year, raising serious questions about the stability of the town beach front.
• $24,000 for the restoration of the Tabernacle in the Camp Ground, requested by the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association, which initially asked for $170,000. The funding will be used to restore 48 windows in the upper clerestory of the iconic structure.
• $38,000 to restore town records, requested by the town clerk Deborah Ratcliffe, who wants to preserve older records by storing them in a micro film format.