Rotted pilings, loose electrical wires and missing handicap parking signs were just a few of the items pointed out by Chilmark town leaders during their annual spring walk-around of Menemsha harbor on a cool and cloudy Wednesday morning.

The small group that gathered included selectmen Warren Doty and Jim Malkin, town building inspector Leonard Jason Jr., executive secretary Timothy Carroll and police chief Jonathan Klaren. Harbor master Dennis Jason Sr., who started the walks in order to improve communication between the harbor master and selectmen, was not present. The walk-around takes place twice a year, in the spring and fall.

The Menemsha walkabout takes place twice a year, in the spring and the fall. — Mark Alan Lovewell

The walking tour began at the harbor master’s office. Mr. Carroll kept a notebook out, scribbling down notes for what needed the most attention. Along the dock, Mr. Doty immediately pointed out a rusty circuit breaker and several disconnected wires peering out from the ground.

“Loose wires sticking out don’t inspire confidence from anybody,” he said.

“It looks weathered, like shingles,” joked Mr. Malkin about the breaker. He added that visitors shouldn’t be worried.

As they walked toward the Menemsha Creek jetty, a Caterpillar claw emerged from the harbor water packed with sand. The claw maneuvered over the jetty and dumped the sand into the Menemsha Bight. Contractor John Keene was manning the machine. Mr. Malkin said the sand piles up because the jetty blocks sand from getting carried out by the tide. He explained that without frequent dredging, the sand could rise so high that the docks would be unusable.

“It’s annual preventative maintenance,” Mr. Malkin said.

Fishermen like Pat Jenkinson are also getting ready for the busy season. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Along the way Mr. Doty paused frequently to investigate objects and pick up scraps of trash. On one shore power box, he noticed a purple scrawl on the side.

“That’s the first time I’ve seen graffiti in Menemsha,” he said.

After a quick look around the public restrooms and testing the hand dryers, the group hopped into the police department’s new electric utility vehicle and drove to the Galley restaurant near the west dock. On the way down Boathouse Road, several people remarked that they had crossed city lines, referring to an arcane lot line issue between Chilmark and Aquinnah that was finally resolved last year. Mr. Klaren pointed to a collection of barrels on the side of the dirt road.

“Those barrels are literally in two towns,” he said. “The line is as clear as mud.”

Better lighting and replacing handicapped signs were discussed as the group headed toward the parking area. Mr. Doty expressed frustration about a small gap between the paved lot and an attached wooden dock and rusty steel pilings towering over the lot.

“All of this needs to be fluffed up,” selectman Warren Doty said. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“It’s extremely unattractive,” he said, suggesting the group look into cutting the pilings down and painting them. An unattached wooden railing also caught his attention. “All of this needs to be fluffed up,” Mr. Doty said.

Traffic and pedestrian flow were Chief Klaren’s main concerns. He said more than a thousand people often pack into the harbor to catch the sunset on a summer night, with cars often backed up to Menemsha Blues. This year he urged the selectmen to look into marking off the ordering area for the Galley, so long lines of customers don’t spill into the street while waiting for ice cream.

As the walk ended, Mr. Doty said the group would need a couple more weeks of work to have the harbor ready for the summer rush. Mr. Malkin said he wasn’t worried and that there weren’t any major issues to address. Nearby, Pat Jenkinson was tying up a lobster cage and shop owners were waving hello to one another. Menemsha harbor was slowly coming to life, with Memorial Day just around the corner.

“We’ll be ready,” said Chief Klaren.

More photos of the Menemsha walkabout.