Edgartown selectmen deal with poles and parades

At their Monday meeting, selectmen approved an urgent project to replace a utility pole, and received an update on the Fourth of July parade.


Edgartown selectmen on Monday authorized NSTAR to replace a utility pole on North Summer Street, in front of the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club Second Hand Store, as soon as possible.

Gerry McDermott, an NSTAR representative, said a survey of the town’s electricity infrastructure singled out the transformer on the pole as a “hot spot.”

“It means the transformer could blow as peak demands are put on the system,” Mr. McDermott told selectmen. He said the current utility pole is 10 to 12 inches in diameter and 35 feet high. The new pole will be 14 inches in diameter, and 40 feet high.

Mr. McDermott acknowledged the sensitivity of the issue, after NSTAR fielded intense criticism when it replaced poles on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road last summer with larger, higher poles. The public utility does not need the town’s permission to replace the pole.

“This isn’t something we do willy-nilly. This has to be done, this is a priority job,” Mr. McDermott said.

Edgartown town administrator Pam Dolby and highway superintendent Stuart Fuller said construction will be difficult on the narrow street, and the new pole will take up more room in an already tight spot on the sidewalk.

“If it’s going to be a bigger diameter, a wheelchair can barely sneak by as it is now,” Ms. Dolby said.

“We’re caught between a rock and a hard place on this,” Mr. Fuller said.

Selectmen agreed the work should be done as quickly as possible, and asked NSTAR to work with police and the highway superintendent to accommodate pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

Parade rules

Dukes County Superior Court clerk Joe Sollitto of Chilmark, who is serving in his second year as organizer of Edgartown’s annual Fourth of July parade, reported that planning is on schedule. The genial lawyer laid down the law about registration.

“People have to apply to be in the parade, before the parade,” Mr. Sollitto said. “We had some problems last year when we had quite a few people show up. I know it’s been the custom, but it’s getting bigger and bigger every year.”

Mr. Sollitto also encouraged local businesses to join the parade, but stressed that the participants should emphasize a patriotic theme, not simply advertise their products and services.

Parade organizers are strongly considering elimination of the reviewing stand, which has been located in past years in front of the Old Whaling Church.

“It has been difficult, the last five or six years, to get people to review the parade,” Mr. Sollitto said. Instead, organizers intend to reserve an area in front of the Edgartown District Courthouse for parade judges.

New manager

Selectmen unanimously voted to appoint George Smith as the new manager of the Katama Airfield, on the recommendation of the airport commission. Longtime airport manager Mike Creato did not want to renew his contract, according to newly appointed airport commissioner Mike Klimek, who attended the board’s regular Monday meeting. “I want to thank Mike Creato for his many years of service,” Mr. Klimek said.

Ms. Dolby said the airport commissioners recommended Mr. Smith after an extensive review of applicants.

“I think the airport commissioners picked the right individual,” Mr. Klimek said. Following the meeting, he said the new manager is a pilot with a wide range of aviation experience.

“He’s flown military, commercial, and private aircraft,” Mr. Klimek said.

In other business Monday, selectmen reported that AT&T Mobility has forwarded a contract to the town to rent space in one of the Katama Farm silos for a new cell phone antenna. Concerned that the wireless phone company was dragging its feet, selectmen last week set a deadline for the company to submit the contract.

“Next we have a construction phase,” Ms. Dolby said. “They may have to rebuild part of the silo.”

Also, the selectmen set a public hearing on an alcohol license for The Grill on Main restaurant. The hearing is scheduled for June 23 at 4:10 pm. The Upper Main Street restaurant is changing its floorplan, which requires that the owners apply for a new alcohol license.