Edgartown gets Boys and Girls Club, hospital updates

Club must finalize MOU before submitting warrant articles.

Hospital CEO Denise Schepici shows Edgartown selectmen plans for a nursing facility on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road.

The leaders behind two separate and major projects planned for construction in Edgartown came before selectmen Monday to give town leaders an update on what’s next. 

The Boys and Girls Club and the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital have both begun the process to build new facilities in Edgartown. 

Club board member Jeffrey Madison asked selectmen for an extension to place an article on April’s annual town meeting warrant, allowing for further discussion concerning the club’s planned new facility.

The club reached a purchase and sale agreement with the family of Philip (“Jeff”) Norton last spring for a 21-acre parcel in a wooded area off Edgartown–West Tisbury Road for $2.8 million. The property is sandwiched between Sweetened Water Farm and town-owned land. 

The club then approached the town, which was also looking at the property, and struck a deal to benefit the club, the town, and the Norton family. Of the 21 acres, the club would keep 14 acres and sell 6.9 acres to the town, 2.3 acres to the parks department and 4.6 acres for additional space for the town’s New Westside Cemetery. Town voters would have to approve the purchases for the parks department and cemetery.

Town administrator James Hagerty told The Times in a phone call Tuesday the town won’t put articles concerning the land purchase on the warrant until the club has submitted a finalized memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining their plans for the property.

Madison said the club board has “three minor points” to address before finalizing its MOU. The club board plans to meet Thursday to finalize discussion internally.

“We’re so close we’ve raised a good amount of money for this project,” Madison said. “We want to continue the progress that has been made over the past 18 months.”

Madison added that the three remaining hurdles are not “significant.”

Selectman Arthur Smadbeck said extra time could be granted if a placeholder was put on April’s warrant, but Hagerty stressed timing, since he has to present a balanced budget for the town.

“These fine details need to be figured out on this MOU. I appreciate everything you’re saying, Jeffrey. The back and forth has been that the fiduciary responsibility of … myself is to look out for the best interests of the town, and try to come to some sort of agreement with this MOU, and I think we are making progress. Conversely, the longer we delay this, I have the obligation to present a balanced budget, and when I have these open variables that are maybe six figures, seven figure numbers, I can’t close everything out.”

Selectmen agreed to meet with the club again on Jan. 21 to give additional time to work with town counsel to finalize its intent for the property.

In a separate major project, hospital CEO Denise Schepici gave a short presentation on the hospital’s planned nursing facility at 490 Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Rd. to replace its costly and outdated Windemere Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

The 26.4-acre property is under agreement to be sold to the hospital. It would provide space for five small, modern, Green House homes, with 70 licensed beds. Separate workforce housing would be built on the property to provide 60 units for nursing facility and hospital staff.

Windemere has been operating at a $2 million loss for the hospital, which Schepici said is not sustainable for the hospital.

The project is still in its beginning stages, and has extensive permitting to go through, including the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.