New benches, bike racks, and planters waiting for flowers went up on the grounds of the Yellow House on Edgartown’s Main street Thursday morning as new owners — the town of Edgartown —prepared the property for the Fourth of July weekend.

Town administrator Pamela Dolby looks on as Edgartown selectmen sign documents to acquire Yellow House.

On Monday the town formally took the Yellow House by eminent domain, bringing an apparent end to several years of discussion and legal wrangling about the fate of the rundown home.

All three selectmen signed the order of taking, including a $3 million payment to the owners, following a brief executive session Monday with town counsel Ronald H. Rappaport.

“The time has come,” selectman Margaret Serpa said.

The town acquired the deed to the property on Tuesday morning, when the Registry of Deeds opened. By 10 a.m. Walter Morrison was taking down a run-down white picket fence with a chainsaw and Vance Lock and Key was at work changing the locks on the front door. Pieces of the fence surrounded the house as onlookers watched the action and police directed summer traffic on Main street.

Walter Morrison took down picket fence surrounding Yellow House shortly after the town acquired the property. — Alex Elvin

The Yellow House had been owned in trust by the Hall family. Town residents voted at town meeting and town election to either take the home by eminent do

main or purchase the house, with town officials making the case for bringing several years of lawsuits with the family over the property to an end, and fixing up the property in the heart of the village.

The circa-1805 building is one of the oldest downtown, and most recently it was the home of Bickerton and Ripley bookstore. It has been vacant for several years.

Town clerk Wanda Williams affixes town seal on order of taking. — Ray Ewing

Late Tuesday afternoon Benjamin L. Hall Jr., one of the owners, told the Gazette that he was shocked and angry by the town’s actions after taking the property. He said his family received no formal notice of that town’s plans and said the town had not followed parts of the state statute regarding eminent domain.

“Somebody went onto the property and cut our fence down and broke into our building,” he said. “You can’t just go onto a property that’s occupied by somebody.” He said the building is not vacant, but is used for storage and houses a small workshop, and likened the town’s actions to a landlord breaking into a property occupied by a tenant.

“I’m rather shocked,” he said, adding later: “We never even had the kindness or courtesy of a phone call to say, we’re taking the property, these are our thoughts and plans, do you have any issues with those.”

Mr. Hall said his family’s attorney has been in contact with Mr. Rappaport, who has said all arrangements are being handled by town administrator Pamela Dolby. “Our attorney was rather disturbed by the suggestion that the town was not willing to abide by the very statutes on which they relied to take the property.”

Town counsel Ronald Rappaport, left, met with selectmen in executive session before public meeting. — Ray Ewing

Mr. Rappaport said Wednesday that the town has followed proper legal procedure.

Property owners have three years to appeal an eminent domain taking and can take the town to court to determine whether it paid a fair amount.

The town’s goal is to find a tenant to lease and restore the building and use it as retail space. The town also plans to build a small park and parking lot.

Selectmen said Monday that they would put together a five-member committee to develop a request for proposals from people who are interested in leasing and renovating the Yellow House. The committee would make recommendations to selectmen.

Mrs. Dolby said she would like to award a contract for the house by the fall so work can begin. “So that’s why we should start getting going right away,” she said.

A small parking lot on the property will remain private parking for the summer, as spaces have been paid for through September.

Shortly after the town voted to acquire the property, a lawyer for Mr. Hall Jr. moved to block the property transfer, citing concerns about a personal bankruptcy case involving Mr. Hall. The town sought advice from special counsel, who said the opinion was baseless, and negotiations between the town and the Hall family moved forward.

On Monday the eminent taking earned a round of applause when completed. The documents were was notarized by Mrs. Dolby. Town clerk Wanda Williams affixed the town seal. Mrs. Serpa thanked the town committee that worked on the project, made up of Chris Scott, Gerret Conover and selectman Michael Donaroma.

No members of the Hall family were present at the meeting.

“It feels good,” Mrs. Serpa said after the meeting, noting that hard work had paid off for the town. “It’s bittersweet,” Mr. Donaroma said. “Takings are not fun, but its something we had to do for the community.”