The Edgartown Land Bank commissioner seat has opened up with two candidates vying for the position. Jack Krowski and Richard Knight are looking to take over commission duties from longtime Edgartown Land Bank commissioner Edward Vincent Jr., who is leaving his post after more than 20 years.
Krowski, who is also running for Edgartown selectman, met his wife on the Island in 1970 while the two then-college students were working during the summer. Krowski has worked at Carroll’s trucking and spent time on town boards in Canton before purchasing his home in Edgartown in 2017. If he’s not attending board meetings, Krowski spends time boating, gardening, and occasionally fishing.
Knight has lived on Chappaquiddick year-round since 1971. He began his career as a carpenter’s helper before becoming a builder and general contractor. Knight spent time as the Edgartown Land Bank commissioner from 1987 to 1997 and has served on several study committees for Edgartown. He’s a trained mediator and was on the board of the Martha’s Vineyard Mediation Program.
Krowski said he vows to improve financial transparency at the Land Bank.
“I go to the meetings and they don’t really discuss anything… everything’s done in executive session,” Krowski said. “My purpose for running is twofold: to improve transparency of Land Bank operations and to allow for more public participation.”
Knight said his reason for running is to continue the Land Bank’s work.
“The Land Bank is one of the most interesting organizations on this Island. A regional body with good representation and participation from all the towns. It has the unique position of preserving and maintaining open space and natural resources, as well as providing for passive recreation.”
Both Krowski and Knight say working with the public is a priority.
“You can go to the meetings, but you just sit there…the actual discussion and how they arrive at decisions, you just don’t know,” Krowski said. “The one in Portland, Maine, I’ve been looking at is just so much different. They have all these committees and people working together and they just work toward the objective.”
“The Land Bank was created with specific goals. However it cannot be everything to everyone,” Knight said. “The properties and their intended usage are decided by the town advisory boards and the central commission before purchase. A site-specific management plan is developed and approved by the state as well as the Land Bank, with open public input. A better understanding of the process and regulations governing Land Bank property usage would be a goal for the future, and I hope my skills as a mediator will be helpful.”
Both candidates feel the Land Bank, which has been around 30 years and conserved 3,100 acres, can continue maintaining the Island’s character while also adapting and evolving.
“It’s done a lot of good. Visually the Island is still nice, it’s pristine. I just think they have to adapt…with the amount of money they’re handling there should be more safeguards, more transparency,” Krowski said. “We’re an Island and we can only handle so many people, so much infrastructure…The Land Bank was a great idea, but I just would like to see more public participation, more people involved.”
After 30 years, Knight says there’s still plenty the Land Bank can do.
“I think the LB enabling act was remarkably successful. I am greatly impressed with the dedication and thoughtful participation of all the town advisory boards as well as the professionalism and steady hand of the Land Bank staff. I think more could be done making the public aware of what potential the Land Bank has for future generations: preserving the aquifer, agricultural lands, scenic vistas, and other natural resources as well as passive recreation,” Knight said. “The Land Bank is still young at 30 years, and a lot of good has yet to be done.”