Work at Boch Park in Vineyard Haven has started in earnest.
It had been months since contractors installed a fence surrounding the 20 Beach Road property, but earlier this week contractors dumped a load of granite at the site. On Thursday, a second load was added, more fill was brought in, and an excavator began moving materials around and grading the lot.
“I’m excited about it,” Ernie Boch Jr. said by phone Thursday. “Why it’s been so slow is that the engineering was more difficult than I first thought. The flooding from the road. It took me a while to engineer it properly.”
Boch said the town also asked for some changes — less stone and more gravel. The park will feature trees, flower gardens, hardscape, and, yes, a statue of the car dealership magnate Ernie Boch Sr. The statue will be about one-third larger than life, he said, because anything else would be too small. It won’t be elevated much, he said.
“I’m looking for a sculptor if anyone on the Island is interested,” Boch told The Times. He said interested artists should contact his administrative assistant at 781-255-6369, or through his Facebook or Twitter.
“I did exactly what they asked,” Boch said of the town. “In my opinion, it hasn’t changed the idea of it. It’s just a little different. It’s still beautiful.”
On Tuesday, Tisbury selectmen approved a sewer license that will allow two properties on Beach Road Extension to hook into the new sewer line on the Boch property, contingent on those two property owners signing the agreement. The vote was 2-0, with chairman Tristan Israel abstaining.
Once again, Israel made known his disdain for the park being fenced-in. “I will sign the agreement that the board wants me to sign, but having said that, I still hope that someday there will be some public component to this project. I find it sad,” Israel said.
There’s been a lot of debate in Vineyard Haven about whether the park will be open to the public or be kept private.
“There’s all sorts of rumors of why I want to do what I want to do,” Boch said. “My thoughts were, Let me get the thing built and see what we have. I’m open to all suggestions. I want to work with everybody on the Island.”
Boch said he’s taken the first step in a much-needed upgrade of Beach Road. “I’m the first one to throw down the gauntlet to beautify Beach Road. I’m not bringing in a KFC and McDonald’s, I’m bringing it the stature it deserves.”
Asked if he had any interest on the DeSorcy property, which includes The Times building next door, Boch said the asking price of $8 million is too high. “I think Mr. DeSorcy is a little bit, a little bit delusional as to the pricing,” Boch said. “I haven’t met him, but hear he’s a really nice guy.”