Island Theater repairs halted

The Island theater remains vacant and dark. — Martha's Vineyard Times file pho

It appears that the decrepit Island Theater will be an Oak Bluffs eyesore for at least one more summer. Although there was a surge of activity after Oak Bluffs Building Inspector Mark Barbadoro declared the building unsafe on June 3, Mr. Barbadoro had to issue a “stop work” order on June 12, because safety guards had not been installed. Safety guards protect passing pedestrians from falling objects.

Mr. Barbadoro cited the International Code Council (ICC), which states, “Pedestrians shall be protected during construction, remodeling, and demolition activities.” According to the ICC, work on a building the size of the Island Theater requires a barrier and a covered walkway. Neither was in place on June 12.

Mr. Barbadoro informed theater co-owner Brian Hall, who is supervising the renovation, that work can resume when the downtown building moratorium ends on Sept. 15, per town bylaw. In addition to safety concerns, Mr. Barbadoro told The Times he stopped the work so “other businesses in the area would not suffer needlessly.”

When Mr. Barbadoro allowed work to resume in early June, he allotted 30 days to repair the roof and the walls. “There’s no reason the work can’t be done in that time,” he told The Times on June 4. Some progress was made before the June 12 stop-work order — a truss that had decayed due to a roof leak was repaired, and ceiling insulation was installed, so work to replace the tarp-covered roof can begin in earnest when crews go back to work, presumably on Sept. 15. “I am optimistic that the roof will be complete by Oct. 1,” Mr. Barbadoro wrote in an email to The Times.

Mr. Barbadoro stated in his June 3 letter that he will not tolerate the delays that have plagued the renovation since the beleaguered building went dark in 2012. He also made clear that he will take necessary action to demolish the building if the pattern persists.