Although the general consensus is that business was up considerably in Oak Bluffs this summer, not all merchants were lifted by the rising tide of tourist dollars.
“Retail on Circuit Avenue was down,” said selectman Michael Santoro at a meeting of the Oak Bluffs selectmen on Tuesday night. “Circuit Avenue needs attention, it’s in bad shape and business is down as a function of that. The Oak Bluffs association has plans to beautify Circuit Avenue, and we should do whatever we can to help. Vineyard Haven went through this a few years ago, and they came out of it. Now we have to do the same thing,” Mr. Santoro said.
Chairman of the selectmen Walter Vail agreed, adding that the deterioration of the Strand and Island theaters was particularly distressing. Not only are they eyesores, but they also attract more people to other downtown businesses.
In other action, NSTAR got approval to install five new utility poles, one on Pennsylvania Avenue, two on Fairmont Avenue, and two on County Road, pending any potential conflicts with the Oak Bluffs Water district. There was extensive discussion about the uproar over the 55-foot tall poles that NSTAR recently installed to replace older, 45-foot poles on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road.
“High winds and weight of ice determine the size of the pole,” said NSTAR representative Mark Baldwin. “Keep in mind, we’re using much heavier wire to ensure capacity for future growth.”
“If people had known the reason for the taller poles before they were installed, I think there would have been a different reaction,” Mr. Vail said. “If higher poles mean we have power during a storm, I’m all for it.”
Town administrator Robert Writenour commended NSTAR for its pledge to provide free power to the new Little League baseball field on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Opening dates for the scallop season, recommended by the shellfish committee and unanimously endorsed by the selectmen, are as follows: Outside waters, October 5 for recreational permit holders, October 7 for commercial permit holders. Sengekontacket Pond, October 12 for recreational permit holders, October 21 for commercial permit holders. Lagoon Pond, November 2 for recreational permit holders, November 4 for commercial permit holders.
The Extraordinary Rendition Band got permission to hold a parade in downtown Oak Bluffs on September 7, from 8 pm to 9 pm. Rob Meyers told the committee the parade has been scaled back so as not to conflict with the memorial service for Bob Lee, which will be held the same day at the Ag Hall. Post parade, there will be a party at the Lampost.