Neglect threatens Island’s attractiveness

Neglect threatens Island’s attractiveness

To the Editor:

Whither our heritage? What makes our Island distinctive and attractive? What lures our affections to return year after year? And to own taxpaying property here? I believe that it is largely our customs, traditions, and welcoming atmosphere.

Historically, the Island was a hunting ground, followed quickly by farming, fishing, and a bit of mining. Flocks of sheep kept in check the rampant grass, foliage and brush, and views of the sea around us. Farms brought corn, which required milling, and the sheep led to spinning and weaving. When more than muscle power became required, streams were dammed and water wheels introduced. Perhaps our best current example is the Mill Pond in West Tisbury, even now the subject of controversy. Another vestige of yesteryear is the historic Mayhew Chapel. The loss or even compromise of these and many other elements of our history, is irretrievable and irrevocable, and represents a thoughtless disrespect of our culture.

Further demoralization can be seen in the growing accumulation of run-down structures, with holes in the siding, boarded-up windows and vine-draped porches. None of this bodes well for our efforts to attract our citizens and visitors and maintain our tax base. What tourist wants to visit run-down facilities? Who will return again? Bad word spreads more quickly than good.

I care, and I hope you do too.

John Boardman

Oak Bluffs

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