Tisbury signs on for new town hall site

Selectmen also want help from Eversource to curb illegal dumping.

The town will soon be the owner of this dilapidated building at 55 West William St. — Stacey Rupolo

The town of Tisbury is a step closer to owning the location of what officials hope will become the new town hall.

At a board of selectmen meeting Thursday, the board signed documents to purchase 55 West William St. for $675,000. Town meeting voters approved the purchase a year earlier, but officials said it took some time to finalize. The town closed on the property Tuesday.

“We’re going to own a piece of property that has a lot of promise for the town,” said selectman Melinda Loberg, who was elected the board’s chairman earlier in the meeting.

Town administrator Jay Grande said once the town takes official ownership, the first order of business will be securing the historic building. “It’s vacant, and it’s in very tough shape,” he said.

Loberg said the building may have valuable antiques inside, something Grande said a committee made up of town department heads will assess.

In May 2017, the board of selectmen approved demolition of the 1880 building because of its dilapidated state, but then turned to purchasing the property for future use.


Garbage cleanup

Selectmen had a lengthy discussion about electricity rights-of-way in town that are the site of what Loberg described as “a lot of illegal dumping.”

The town is asking Eversource officials to meet with the board, perhaps as soon as the board’s next meeting on May 21, to discuss the locations where access to those power lines can be gated off.

Fire Chief John Schilling said the issue has been going on for so long that the company was named NStar when the town first broached the subject of putting up gates to block vehicular access to the rights-of-way.

“We need to press Eversource to move forward and secure these areas,” Schilling said. “There doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency on that.”

Building inspector Ken Barwick told the board he’s had contact with an Eversource representative. He expects that person to meet with town leaders like Schilling, the police chief, and other department heads in mid-May.

Loberg asked what selectmen can do to move things forward.

Schilling had a recommendation. “Let’s call Eversource in here,” he said. “We keep hearing locally it’s right around the corner, right around the corner.”

In other business, the board voted unanimously to send its recommendation for the makeup of a building committee for Tisbury School renovations and additions. While the school committee suggested a board of 13 members, selectmen are recommending that be pared down to nine members, with four of the members suggested by the school committee — the superintendent, town administrator, principal, and facilities manager  — as consultants instead. The board hopes to settle on a makeup of the committee at its May 21 meeting. At town meeting and at the polls, voters approved spending $400,000 on repairs to the building, and to begin the process of deciding what’s next for Tisbury School.

The board approved three traffic officers for summer work. They are Corey Medeiros, Savannah Barnes, and Thomas Girouard.

The board approved the five-mile Murdick’s Run the Chop Challenge for July 4.

During the board’s reorganization, selectman Jim Rogers was elected vice chairman, and newly elected member Jeff Kristal was elected clerk.