Edgartown to use CPA funds for old school repairs
The Edgartown selectmen on Monday endorsed the Old Edgartown School Use Committee's request for $150,000 from Community Preservation Act funds for emergency repairs, after hearing a building plan update.
Committee chairman James Cisek and highway superintendent Stuart Fuller said they had gone through the 80-year-old building Monday and discovered leaks in the roof, failing gutters and other problems that need to be fixed to stabilize the vacant building. They said the money could be used for those emergency repairs or to restore the old cafeteria into a multi-purpose community room.
Mr. Cisek said the space could serve several age groups, from young children to senior citizens and be used for functions such as Red Cross blood drives, library book sales, police and fire department training, town meetings, a voting place, and theater and dance programs.
"The money is there. People have already paid into the fund," Mr. Cisek said. "The funding is insignificant to what you have as an asset," noting that it would cost more than $4 million to rebuild the school today.
A $30,000 feasibility study of the building recommended using the old 3,200-square-foot cafeteria for a public function room as well as restoring the old part of the school for senior housing, Mr. Cisek said. The school has been vacant for about three years.
The selectmen agreed with the proposal to fix what is deteriorating in the building, but were more reluctant to fully endorse the cafeteria plan.
"It makes sense to preserve the integrity of the building, but it might be a hair premature to create this room," selectman Arthur Smadbeck said. He cautioned against committing to the cafeteria conversion now, because an offer may come that would require use of the whole building.
Selectman Michael Donaroma said the cafeteria plan is a good idea, but added, "We're not organized enough yet, but getting closer."
Selectman Margaret Serpa agreed that the best use of the funds now is for the needed repairs.
Mr. Fuller also reported that in his talks with the Edgartown Council on Aging, he had learned that the senior citizens want to keep their programs at the Anchors.
Town administrator Pamela Dolby said there is some interest in using part of the old school building for the elderly day care program. "It would be a nice opportunity for the elderly and the handicapped," she said.
She also suggested that the committee get some new members, perhaps a representative from the all-Island senior program.
In other business, the selectmen approved an annual merit evaluation for Mr. Fuller, citing his good work on the North Water Street underground utilities project, a new bike path, new roads and generally "keeping the rest of the town looking nice." Mr. Fuller has completed four years of service to the town.
The selectmen approved minor changes to the shellfish regulations, including updating fines and fees, as reported by shellfish constable Paul Bagnall. He also reported that commercial shellfishing, which started Nov. 1, is "not quite as good this year," but he reported that there is plentiful seed for next year.