Town requests confirmation of Aquinnah casino details

The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) has begun to clear land off of Black Brook Road for a class II gaming facility.

Aquinnah selectmen are requesting that the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) confirm a number of specifications regarding preliminary plans for a class II gaming facility on Black Brook Road.

In a letter sent on Jan. 8 to tribal chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, selectmen laid out a list of details they say had been discussed in a meeting with selectman Jim Newman, town counsel Ron Rappaport, and Andrews-Maltais.

“We understand the Tribe intends to utilize the property formerly owned by John D. Wiener shown on Aquinnah assessors map no. 8, parcel no. 7, for the class II gaming facility,” the letter states.

The tribe acquired the property in 2014 for $1.15 million, and in 2017 it was put into a federal land trust.

The gambling hall is proposed to be a “Sprung” structure; a trademark of a construction company that uses tensioned membrane structures supported by aluminum framing to offer a “faster, better way to build,” according to the company website.

The proposed structure is expected to be approximately 10,000 square feet in size.

Selectmen also wondered about the tribe’s idea to forgo having a restaurant on the property, and instead have the gambling hall be serviced by food trucks.

The tribe plans on having 250 gaming machines in the facility, according to the letter, but the proposed days and hours of operation, along with the size of the parking area, are not definitive.

Selectmen also sought to clarify whether the tribe would pursue permits from the town or the Martha’s Vineyard Commission outside of a beer and wine license.

The letter requested that the tribe respond “on or before Jan. 15” and invited tribal governance to meet and discuss the proposed facility and “the related public safety needs that would arise.”

Aquinnah town administrator Jeffrey Madison could not be reached for comment on whether the town received a response. Andrews-Maltais did not immediately return a message left for her at tribal headquarters. Last week, she told The Times that the tribe continues to lay the groundwork for the facility.