Demolition of the vacant former Tisbury fire station on Beach Street began at 7:30 am Wednesday morning. The project is expected to be wrapped up Friday, just before the busy Memorial Day weekend.
A Richard T. Olsen and Son excavator began tearing into the building and loading debris into a truck as bystanders watched.
Tisbury building inspector Ken Barwick said the fire horn, which had alerted volunteer fire firefighters for years, and the top of the cupola would be saved.
Town leaders gave no public notice of the project, and there was no mention of it at the regular Tuesday meeting of the selectmen.
Anticipating traffic delays, Tisbury officials asked police to station an officer to direct traffic.
Town administrator Jay Grande confirmed the plan in response to a question from The Times, following the Tuesday night meeting.
Plans call for removing the roof and the four walls of the fire station, built in 1955. The slab and pavement are to be removed in the second phase of the project in June.
At town meeting in April 2012, voters approved $40,000 from free cash to remove the building. Although the selectmen had made tentative plans for the demolition in December, the project was delayed because asbestos needed to be removed first.
The selectmen agreed several months ago to create a temporary parking lot on the site to be available at the beginning of August, possibly. There has been discussion of creating a metered town public parking lot. Selectmen said they would hold a public hearing once the demolition is done, before making any final decisions on the way the new parking lot will be managed.
Tisbury’s fire, ambulance/emergency medical services, and emergency management departments are now housed in the new Emergency Services Facility on West Spring Street, across from the Tisbury School.