Work has begun on one of the Island’s most controversial roof projects.
Associate Roofing, which had fenced off the area at the former Santander Bank, has now begun work by putting a product called Blueskin over the roof that’s being replaced. Blueskin is a material used to prevent leaks.
Associate Roofing, which has an office on the Island and also in Braintree, will be using clay tiles similar to what was on the historic building before the bank replaced them with asphalt shingles.
Mike Lynch, owner of Associate Roofing and a Chilmark resident, said the tiles are custom-made Ludowici tiles. “I took special interest in this job,” he said. “It’s ridiculous that they removed those tiles and replaced them with red shingles. It’s a beautiful building.”
The decision to allow the asphalt shingles, which was initially approved by then-building inspector Ken Barwick in 2016, was sent to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission for review by selectmen. The MVC ruled that the bank had to replace the tile roof, which set off a legal dispute that ultimately ended with the company agreeing to bring back the tile roof.
The bank closed the branch in 2017 and has been trying to sell the building since. The dispute over the roof likely scared off some potential buyers.
Lynch said he expects the project will take five to eight weeks, depending on weather. “I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I wanted to preserve what was there.”