Chilmark selectmen sign off on dock rebuilding project

— File photo by Nelson Sigelman

During a fast-moving meeting, Chilmark selectmen on Tuesday approved the budget for the last phase of a project to rebuild the town piers and signed off on the recently completed new bathroom at the town elementary school.

Selectmen started the meeting with an update on Phase III of the project to rebuild and repair town docks after the Menemsha fire in 2010.

The town has received $629,026 from the Massachusetts Seaport Advisory Council to conduct the next phase of repairs to the town waterfront. As part of the plan the town will rebuild the 50-foot fixed wooden fuel dock behind Menemsha Texaco.

The plan also calls for replacement of the 242-foot fixed wooden pier known as the transient dock behind the breakwater, where boaters tie up for visits of less than two weeks.

That dock would be replaced with a two-part structure. The dock would be fixed for the first 62 feet, and connected to an additional 180 feet of floating docks. A ramp would make the structure accessible for disabled people.

Executive Secretary Tim Carroll said Tuesday he had to make some changes to the budget for Phase III of the project due to last minute changes.

Several pilings of the new pier have been made taller to make them hurricane proof, Mr. Carroll said, and plans now call for the entire bulkhead to be rewired for utilities.

Mr. Carroll said the cost of several other items in the project might be reduced, such as the decking. “With the exception of the first two [items on this list] there is a little bit of wiggle room because they are going out to bid,” he said.

Selectman Warren Doty said he would like to increase the contingency fund from $20,000 to $50,000. Mr. Carroll said he needed to submit an updated budget to the state but told selectmen they could make additional changes later.

Mr. Carroll said he was meeting with the town conservation commission on Wednesday to discuss where to place the spoils from the dredging portion of the project.

As of this week it was unclear if the material would be used for beach renourishment on the other side of the breakwater or placed in a 29,000-square-foot area in the dunes just to the east of Basin Road.

“I would rather not go through the dunes,” selectman Bill Rossi said.

Mr. Carroll said he was working with state environmental officials to determine what the town’s options were for the dredge spoils.

Selectmen also signed off on the new preschool bathrooms at the Chilmark School. The new bathroom was paid for through a $2,500 pledge from the Chilmark Town Affairs Council, a contribution of $14,000 from the Friends of the Chilmark Preschool and $25,000 already appropriated by voters at town meeting.

Mr. Doty said he visited the elementary school and was pleased with the new facilities. “It looks great. It looks like they saved the bookcase… and it’s all completed before school begins,” he said.

Selectmen voted 3-0 to award final payment to contractor Peter Knight of Knight Homebuilders.

In other business, selectmen met with Michael Forgione from the Realized Dreams Project. He proposed a usable household electronic waste drop-off and pick-up near the Menemsha Beach on September 23.

Mr. Forgione said people could drop off old working TVs, computers, monitors, stereos, cell phones, refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers can be left or, if necessary, picked up by the organization.

Mr. Forgione said the event will be free and all items will be contributed to communities in need in Costa Rica, Jamaica, Haiti, and St. Croix. He said his group recently held successful drop-off events at the Chilmark post office and will be holding another this weekend at the Edgartown Triangle.

He said the events help people on the Island get rid of household items that could eventually become an environmental problem while securing valuable items for people in other countries in need. “Our motto is: don’t recycle, redistribute,” he said.

Mr. Forgione said he would like the event on September 23 to feature some acoustic music and food. “We would like to create an environment where people can come with their families and hang out and gain some awareness about this growing problem,” he said.

Selectmen voted 3-0 to approve the event with the caveat that food and music be limited to between 4 and 8 pm. For more information on the Realized Dreams, project call 508-560-9037 or visit