Memorial Wharf in Edgartown will get a facelift

Edgartown board of selectmen approve short-term repairs; more extensive work will come.

In this file photo, Magic Carpet takes on passengers at Memorial Wharf in Edgartown.

Edgartown selectmen listened to a presentation Monday by two members of the Memorial Wharf restoration committee, and agreed to support the committee’s plan to proceed with some minor improvements in the short term, while looking at major restoration in the future.

Committee members Richard Barbini, a civil engineer, and Steve Ewing, owner of Aquamarine Dockbuilders, reported that the wharf itself is in satisfactory condition, but planning for a major overhaul of Memorial Wharf is something the selectmen should have on their radar.

Childs Engineering Corp. from Bellingham performed a topside and underside inspection of the wharf in February, and concluded that the steel-sheet piles are in “satisfactory condition” and that sheet pile tie rods had “no significant defects.” The report said the small timber pier, where the harbormaster boat is moored, has “significant deterioration.” The engineers found that “the timber fender system for the Chappy ferry adjacent to the northeast side of the wharf has caused some impact damage to the steel wale.” The report said, “The majority of the timber wharf structure is in satisfactory condition.”

Mr. Ewing told The Times that the committee hopes to keep the cost of the initial improvements to around $100,000.

“We’re trying to keep it under $100,000, but we don’t know if we can do that or not. There’s shingling, the railings, basically bringing the pavilion up to snuff,” he said. Mr. Ewing said they would share the plans with the historic commission and conservation commission as well.

“The general consensus is when we’re done with it, we want it to look as much like it does now as we can for generations to come,” he added.

The engineering company provided a cursory inspection of the pavilion at the wharf, where it was determined that the roof deck guardrails and the stairway rail are not tall enough to meet current code requirements. There are missing roof shingles at the pavilion, a broken gutter system on roof eaves, and loose stair treads due to corrosion of the nails.

Mr. Barbini told the selectmen that most of the work required now is “cosmetic, above the wharf.”

“We’re trying to keep the front exactly the same as it is,” Mr. Barbini said.

“The thing you’re going to notice is that the railing at the top of the pavilion is going to look like a picket fence,” Mr. Ewing told the selectmen. “It’ll be very straightforward and practical.”

“Simple’s better,” Mr. Barbini agreed.

They said they were planning to add new bronze light fixtures at the pavilion, keeping restoration plans basic so as not to change its current character.

Mr. Ewing said that even though the steel sheeting and the wharf itself are in relatively satisfactory condition, a much larger project lies ahead. “We’ll probably be looking at an extensive project within five to 10 years, with new steel sheeting and a new wharf.”

Town administrator Pam Dolby suggested the restoration committee go before the Community Preservation Committee, provide them with an update, and let them know what is looming in the future.

“It would be a good idea to get on the agenda with the CPC, give them an update, knowing we’re looking at this project within the next 10 years,” she said.

“To do a brand-new wharf and new steel bulkhead would be a couple million dollars,” Mr. Ewing said.

The selectmen agreed that keeping the current restoration project close to the way Memorial Wharf looks now is the best way to proceed.

“I think we should vote to support their plan,” selectman Margaret Serpa said.

Also during Monday’s meeting, selectmen approved the transfer of a seasonal package-goods license from 65 Main St., LLC, to Rosewater Wine & Spirits, LLC.

Julia Celeste, operating partner at Rosewater Market and Takeaway, also in Edgartown, told The Times on Tuesday that Rosewater will rent the space at Port Supply on Main Street from Eugene Courtney. Barbara Courtney opened the initial package store at the site a few years ago.