It’s not yet apparent that a new town hall will make the cut for voting this April despite how badly it is needed and how much will be saved by getting it done now as opposed to later. Some who would put it off until a whole campus can be built and others, not understanding the issues, think a taxpayer solution to affordable housing should take precedence.

Regarding the latter, it’s unlikely those who get to vote — and who own homes in Oak Bluffs — are willing to increase their real estate taxes to provide housing, as small minded as that may seem. In terms of the former, since at least 2000 this issue has been discussed, reviewed, recommended and presented by committees including several sets of elected selectmen, town financial committees, a building study committee, the capital improvements committee and the planning board.

In 2013, town leaders and professionals isolated the town hall as deficient in serving its purpose. In 2014 the recommended $6.8 million dollar project was defeated, contrary to the opinions of experts, and despite the fact that, due to the payoffs of the Oak Bluffs School, our library and the wastewater system, bond offerings would have no significant impact on real estate tax.

The present rise of the prime lending rate was predicted, acknowledging again the financial benefit of moving forward. A 25 per cent increase would have added $136,000 to the cost — a gamble we’ve lost now that the rate has increased. On the town’s new website at you can click onto “New Town Hall” at the bottom left of the page for plenty of information including some renderings of what it may look like.

One aspect not discussed is that the quite accomplished designers, Keenan & Kenny Architects of Falmouth, also designed the well-received fire and safety building that town leaders brought in on time and under budget. On their website the new design description says; “the new building reflects the character of this historic Island Town known for it’s (sic) Victorian 19th century style residences and Meeting Houses.”

No it doesn’t. It’s a fairly rudimentary structure with vaguely Greek pantheon looking columns at two rudimentary entrances that while attractive could be in any nondescript New England town. Oak Bluffs is special, the centre of one of America’s few original architectures, the town memorialized by Dr. Ellen Weiss in her book City in the Woods. The architectural guidelines of our Cottage City Historic District Commission describe the district as ‘one of the most historically significant and eclectic residential composition in the United States. The Victorian architecture of the historic district is characterized by examples of the Queen Anne, Italianate, Stick, Shingle, Gothic Revival and Carpenter Gothic styles. Most of these ‘cottages’ were constructed based on the principles laid out in Robert Morris Copeland’s community master plan designed in 1886. Copeland’s plan was developed as an extension to the adjacent Campgrounds…”

Even the SSA decorated its new office with a cupola and some gingerbread. Wouldn’t some evocative use of some of Samuel Pratt’s jerkinhead gables, candlesnuffers or finials help distinguish the town’s representative new hall?

The library is hosting Carnaval Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be crafting for children and adults, and mask-making. At noon, dancer and musicologist Cornell Coley will lead a children’s percussion workshop. A Brazilian lunch follows at 1 p.m. followed by an all ages interactive performance culminating in an audience drum jam. Both performances will show how African rhythms traveled to the new world to influence Brazilian Carnaval street culture. And it’s all free.

If you’re up for chili, swing by the PA Club on Saturday for the annual Chili Fest benefiting the Red Stocking Fund.

Breakfast is free at Linda Jean’s on your birthday if you’re an Island Club Card member. That’s unfortunate if your birthday is this time of year as it is closed for their annual break. I’m not sure if that’s good news or not, given that my birthday is mid-summer when the line stretches to the post office. I’ll suffer through the interminable wait for 2016 though; my Samson’s gonna be extra delicious.

The best thing about last week’s Oak Bluffs blizzard was seeing Denny Rose and John (Pagoda) Cisek interviewed on Boston’s WHDH-TV 7. I’m sure they’re willing to provide autographs, especially on the back of checks payable for their dedicated landscaping and plowing services.

Keep your foot on a rock.

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