Chilmark selectmen give ‘Big Swords’ a big thumbs down


Chilmark selectmen Tuesday reviewed the budget for an overhaul of the Martha’s Vineyard Refuse Disposal and Resource Recovery District (MVRDRRD) transfer station, and turned down a request from the Discovery Channel to film scenes for a show about a local swordmaker.

Following his presentation last week, Don Hatch, MVRDRRD director, returned with updated numbers for a proposed $2.5 million overhaul of the district’s Edgartown transfer station. Mr. Hatch has decreased the contingency to 20 percent and included the installation of a second scale into Phase 1 of the project at a cost of $144,000, which is still in line with his earlier cost estimate of  “up to” $2.5 million.

“We’re trying to fit the second scale in [the budget], and we’re pretty confident it can happen as long as this project happens over the next year or two,” Mr. Hatch said. Mr. Hatch added that about half the project cost is in asphalt.

“I’m pleased with these changes,” selectman Warren Doty said.

Selectmen also received a visit from Ray Martinez and Aaron McKenna of Thinkfactory Media, based in Los Angeles. The men are filming a show called “Big Swords” for the Discovery Channel, which will feature Islander and swordmaker Michael Craughwell.

Mr. Martinez and Mr. McKenna wanted permission to construct a temporary shed and “blow it up” using a fake bomb (with pyrotechnics) near a historic property on South Road.

“Personally I’m not that comfortable with this at all,” said Selectman Jonathan Mayhew. He continued, “It has nothing to do with the town of Chilmark, and I don’t really like the concept.”

Mr. Doty agreed. “By us saying ‘yes’ we’re agreeing that we support this kind of a project, and we’re just not into it.”

Mr. Mayhew added, “As far as the town of Chilmark, we have to look at the big picture. Do we really want to have these various companies consider the town of Chilmark to do this sort of stuff? In your case it’s a bomb and in someone else’s it’s some other plan, but from my perspective it’s pretty important not to get involved in this stuff.”

Mr. Doty pointed out that the town receives requests from many moviemakers. “We’re the town that turned down ‘Message in a Bottle’ [a 1999 film with Kevin Costner]. We’ve given out more permits than we would normally do, and almost every time there’s more vehicles than they say there are going to be, there’s more disruption, and they ask the public to move away.”

Mr. Doty said, “Maybe we’ll just become the town that says no to movies.” A motion to deny the filming request was approved.

Selectmen also noted the town had already distributed 20 application forms for one of four one-acre lots in the Nab’s Corner Community Housing Project. A workshop is scheduled for 7 pm, Thursday, Sept. 25,in Chilmark town hall. Application for the Nab’s Corner lots are open Island-wide, but based on certain criteria, Chilmark residents will receive preference in the lottery.

The deadline for submitting a completed application is 5 pm, Oct. 14. Application packets can be picked up at Chilmark town hall.

“Anyone interested has to get on the stick right now,” Mr. Doty said.

In other business Tuesday, Chilmark Fire Chief David Norton expressed concern about the need for an adequate firefighting water supply for the Nab’s Corner development and other parts of town.

Selectmen turned down a request from Paul Adler of Nab’s Corner Associates requesting the name of the Nab’s Corner Community Housing Project be changed due to possible confusion with his building firm, Nab’s Corner Associates.

Lastly, selectmen reviewed and approved 10 articles to be placed on the Oct. 20 special town-meeting warrant.