Chilmark selectmen discuss public safety building report

Shellfishing limitations for final days of season also addressed.

Selectman Warren Doty, Chairman Bill Rossi, and Selectman Jonathan Mayhew discuss the Aquinnah town-line shellfishing issue. — Photo by Edie Prescott

Chilmark selectmen made quick work of a light agenda Tuesday. Selectmen reviewed an initial report from the public safety building committee, approved three fundraising events, and adjusted the shellfishing boundaries in Menemsha Pond for the remainder of the scallop season before going into executive session to discuss land acquisition.

Selectmen reviewed a report by the Public Safety Building Site Committee, headed by Andy Goldman, to find a replacement site for the current ambulance garage and fire house. The committee said that two acres or less of land is needed, depending on the building configuration, and that a town center location is ideal, based on review of call data over the past several years.

The plan is to build a facility to house the Chilmark fire department and Tri-Town Ambulance with the possibility of later adding a module for the Chilmark police department. The current estimate calls for a 12,625-square-foot building, at a cost of $3,057,500 to $3,787,500. Selectmen want to see more detail about how these numbers add up.

“Two acres is a big space,” Selectman Warren Doty said. “If the suggestion is that this be in the Beetlebung Corner area, then looking at options for multiple use, especially parking, is useful. You need an open area to do drills, but when you are not doing the drills, can it be used for event parking?”

There is a $40,000 line item on the annual warrant, scheduled for April 27, to fund the planning and design of a new public safety building. If the town passes this item, the committee would issue a request for proposals to take initial steps to further develop plans for a new facility.

In other business, Selectman Jonathan Mayhew asked that, because ice had removed the poles that marked the boundaries in Menemsha Pond, that there be no shellfishing west of the channel for the remainder of the season. The motion was approved.

“There’s been somewhat of a brouhaha that Chilmarkers are going across the line into Aquinnah,” Mr. Mayhew said. Activity will remain near the Nashaquitsa Pond area.

Selectmen also approved three fundraising events. “Party by the Pond” would benefit the Joy Flanders Scholarship Fund. The event is scheduled for July 25 at the Chilmark Chocolates field. The goal is to raise $20,000 over five years to help a student train in the field of special education. Ms. Flanders spent much time with her children near the pond and Chilmark Chocolates, which employs people with disabilities.

“I don’t think anyone could ever forget Joy,” Chairman Bill Rossi said. “She was always a happy person.”

Selectmen also approved an event on May 24 to honor Chilmark resident and poet Peggy Freydberg, who died three weeks after her 107 birthday on March 27, and the “Bike MS: Ride the Vineyard” event on May 2, sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club.

Lastly, Mr. Rossi updated the Nab’s Corner affordable-housing project: “At the end of the day, the cost of the project is still under budget.” This includes the extra money spent on a separate conduit, which was installed and inspected last week.