Martha’s Vineyard Television breaks ground for new studio

Attendees at MVTV's groundbreaking ceremony included, from left (standing), architect Bruce MacNelly, MVTV staff members Michelle Vivian, Access Coordinator, Laura Edgar, Programming Coordinator, and Carl Holt, Operations Manager; board members Bob Tankard and Wayne Greenwell; board chairman Anne Lemenager, wielding the shovel; board member and building committee chairman Richard Knabel; MVTV executive director Steve Warriner; and general contractor John Folino of Cape Building Systems. MVTV member and producer William Waterway is kneeling in front. — Photo courtesy of Anne Lemenager

Staff and board members of Martha’s Vineyard Television (MVTV), the Island’s public cable access station, held a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday for a new studio facility to be built on a 1.5-acre property between the World Revival Church and the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home on Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road.

The community media center will include studio and office space, a classroom, and support facilities. John Folino of Cape Building Systems in Mattapoisett is the general contractor. Plans call for the building to be up and weather-tight by the end of October and for MVTV to be in it by the end of next May, at the latest, board chairmn Anne Lemenager said.

MVTV is currently housed in cramped quarters next to Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

The facility’s construction was delayed for several months by an impasse with the World Revival Church in granting a formal easement for MVTV to access its property through the church’s parking lot.

When the Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC), the Island’s regional permitting body, granted the church a development permit in 2006, the commission stipulated that it did not want another curb cut along Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road. The church agreed to allow access through its property to adjacent property.

The sticking point for the World Revival Church with MVTV, however, was that the access should be contingent on agreements on shared parking, snow removal and signage, MVC staff member Paul Foley told the commission at a meeting in June.

Ms. Lemenager said the church has since signed a yearlong access agreement with MVTV and that attorneys for both parties are working out the details of a permanent easement document, per the order of the MVC.

The MVC unanimously approved MVTV’s proposed 6,600-square-foot facility on January 26 after its review as a development of regional impact (DRI). Based on available funding, MVTV agreed to reduce the facility by 2,600 square feet, which the commission also approved on June 21.

“We wanted a bigger building, but 4,000 square feet is triple what we have now, so it will be great,” Ms. Lemenager said. “And we’ll finally have indoor plumbing.”

MVTV operates on three cable channels that provide publicly produced programs, educational shows, and local government coverage. MVTV is funded by Comcast, Martha’s Vineyard’s current cable service provider, with five percent of its revenue from Island cable subscribers. Comcast’s contract expired June 30, 2011.

As a result of ongoing contract negotiations between Comcast and the six Island towns, which recently came to a standstill, Ms. Lemenager said capital funds offered by Comcast towards the new MVTV facility are in limbo. However, Comcast is still honoring its five percent funding commitment to MVTV’s operating budget.

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