To the Editor:
As spring annual town meetings and elections get closer, there is a lot to think about and prepare for. Our influence over national affairs is frustratingly small and very diluted. But on the local level, we can wield a lot of power and help create positive change. I would like to direct the voters of Oak Bluffs to Article 17 on the town meeting warrant and Question 1 on the town ballot. These are the two items we need to approve to ensure our town gets the new town hall it so rightly deserves.
When I first moved year-round to Oak Bluffs in 1973, we had a handsome town hall that was built to be a town hall, and served the community well. Our kids were born here, and attended the old school, which is now the town hall. That building, unlike the one across the street now owned by the Catholic Church, was built hastily and, I am afraid, cheaply, to replace an older school building which had suffered a fire. Due to health concerns at the downtown location, presently the police station, the town hall employees were moved to the recently vacated old school shortly after our beautiful new school was built. The old school, presently the town hall, had been determined to be inadequate and in need of major repairs. The classrooms and cafeteria were amazingly modified to serve as a temporary town hall, to satisfy this unexpected emergency move.
So here we are, almost 20 years later. We have a new school, a new library, a new fire station, a not-so-new, but sufficient, police station, and a relatively new town highway barn, but we still, more than ever, need a new town hall! You all know the inspirational slogan “Proud to be from O.B.”; well, that holds for all but our town hall. There have been many studies done to decide what we should do. The bottom line is, building a new town hall on the present footprint makes the most logical, and more important for many of us, the most economical sense. The longer we put this off, the more it will cost. Besides saving us money in the long run, we will have happier town hall employees, able to work more efficiently. Also as we go about our daily lives as volunteers attending meetings, and concerned citizens and Islanders needing town services, our visits to town hall will inspire us to chant “Truly, proud to be from O.B.”
Please, Oak Bluffs, let’s vote to build ourselves the town hall we deserve, and show our children and grandchildren we care about their future and our home.