Aquinnah tries special meeting again
Tuesday Aquinnah will try again to hold a thrice-postponed special town meeting. The warrant includes a reworked proposal to create a seasonal, outdoor performing arts center on town owned land at the Gay Head cliffs that has raised the concern of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).
Aquinnah is Martha's Vineyard's smallest town, but it is not the most efficient when it comes to disposing of town meeting business. Tuesday night is the fourth time town leaders have scheduled a special town meeting that was originally set for October 21.
The October date was moved to November 13, then February 2 because the town was unable to reach a quorum. The February meeting was rescheduled to April 7 when questions arose about some of the language that appeared in the warrant.
This week Jeff Burgoyne, Aquinnah town administrator, said the April date was advanced one month at the request of proponents of an outdoor performing arts center. If voters give the go ahead the developers want to have as much time as possible to begin the permitting process, said Mr. Burgoyne.
The meeting will begin at 7 pm in the old town hall.
The 14-article warrant includes a redraft of an article that asked voters to authorize the board of selectmen "to lease a portion of the Aquinnah Circle for purposes of constructing a performing arts staging structure."
The new language puts the town in compliance with public bidding procedures. It asks the selectmen "to solicit proposals to lease a portion of the Aquinnah Circle" and makes any lease contingent on approval by a special town meeting vote to be held in conjunction with the annual town meeting on May 12.
The circle is regularly used for events that include the annual Wampanoag Pow Wow and gathering of classic hot rods. This summer it was also the scene of a summer music festival in support of local radio station WVVY.
The proposal for an outdoor performing arts center comes from Ted Cammann and James Glavin of Aquinnah. Mr. Cammann is a producer of live musical events and Mr. Glavin is the owner of Deca Construction.
The men have created a 13-page brochure that describes the proposal in detail. Under the heading of concept the men said: "Our goal is to adopt the natural topography of the circle at the cliffs as the site for a seasonal, outdoor facility to host a series of events... This spot offers this town a singular opportunity to enable the presentation of diverse, multi-cultural artistic and entertainment offerings surrounded by unsurpassed natural vistas."
What would be created they said, "is a truly unique and universally appealing venue for concerts, children's programs, fundraisers for nonprofits, town events, tribal functions and the like."
They plan to use the land's natural topography to provide a natural amphitheater. The stage would be placed in the lower section so that the audience would be looking out in the direction of Nomans Land Island. Initially, a temporary covered stage would be built to get the program up and running.
There would be no cost to the town, the men said. But there will be risk for the investors. "The recent failures of most of the competing Island music venues tells a tale of woe we do not seek to echo," they wrote. "This is not a business for the timid. This shall not be a stroll on easy street." The men said the proposal only makes sense with a long-term lease.