Island Theater gets a facelift

The Island Theater gets a new paint of coat. —Stacey Rupolo

It took a court order and several starts and stops, but the Island Theater façade is finally getting painted. Crews from off-Island were on the 6 am boat on Wednesday morning, and had made considerable headway by midday. The job is contracted to be completed in one day.

The work was announced at Tuesday’s selectmen’s meeting, where selectmen unanimously voted to close the sidewalks surrounding the theater for one day.

Highway department supervisor Richie Combra expressed surprise at the announcement, and dismay that the work was taking place at the height of the summer season. “I know we’re very interested in getting it painted, I just think it’s going to be a nightmare, to be honest.”

Chairman Kathy Burton said the board agreed, but after discussing it in executive session with town counsel Ron Rappaport, it was the best course of action. “If we had an alternative, I assure you we would choose it,” she said.

“It’s now or next July,” selectman Greg Coogan said.

“I think it’s absurd as can be that we’re closing the sidewalks on August 9 when these people could have painted it in April,” Mr. Combra said.

“It’s only because we were painted into a corner,” selectman Michael Santoro said.

A board of survey assembled by former Oak Bluffs building inspector Mark Barbadoro officially declared the Island Theater “dangerous” on Dec. 2.

On May 26, Superior Court Judge Cornelius Moriarty told Mark Cain, attorney for the Halls, that the action plan to make the Island Theater safe, which included painting the façade of the theater, was still inadequate. The plan was presented to the court for the second time that week, was found still inadequate, and a revised plan was ordered by May 30.

Judge Moriarty signed off on a revised plan on May 30.

Work to make the building structurally safe was completed earlier this summer.

First Choice Quality Painting was initially contracted by the Halls, but backed out of the contract at the last minute, according to Brian Hall.