Ag Society considers saving doomed building

This building on Old Courthouse Road in West Tisbury could soon be on the move. - Rich Saltzberg

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society is looking into moving a West Tisbury building slated for demolition onto to the Ag Society’s fairgrounds for use as a poultry display barn. The town-owned structure sits on Old Courthouse Road, and has been a subject at several selectmen’s meetings as well as a Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) hearing, where the proposal to level it drew criticism from neighboring homeowners. West Tisbury plans to develop affordable housing on the land the building currently occupies.

“We are examining the possibility of saving the historic building and its possible use as a poultry display barn for the 4-H program and the fair,” Ag Society president Brian Athearn wrote in an email. “We would need private funding for the project, and are researching what the costs will be and the viability of the building itself. There is asbestos and lead paint that will need to be dealt with prior to anything happening.”

The idea of moving the building came up at a MVC Land Use Planning Committee meeting Monday night, West Tisbury town administrator Jennifer Rand said. The committee expressed a desire to see West Tisbury explore the option of moving the building, Rand said. To that end, she had a telephone conversation with Athearn Tuesday morning.

Whatever happens going forward, the Ag Society or any other party that might seek to move the building will need to go through the public bidding process, Rand said. What a bid package for moving the building might look like isn’t known yet, she said.