Edgartown signs MOU with Boys and Girls Club

With the deal signed, purchase of land will head to town meeting.

Club board member Jeff Madison signs the memorandum of understanding as Edgartown selectman Arthur Smadbeck looks on.

Updated 10:30 pm

Edgartown selectmen and leaders from the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with an updated lot layout, cementing a deal that has been months in the making.

“Good luck with the project,” selectman Arthur Smabdeck said to club leaders at a meeting Friday. “We have a way to go. We have to get the town to agree to buy the land for the cemetery, but I think it’s such a wonderful opportunity.”

Selectman Michael Donaroma, who is also president of the club, was not present at the meeting.

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 total acres, the club would keep 14.34 acres to construct their new facility and sell 2 acres (Lot D) to the parks department and 4.6 acres (Lot B) for additional space for the town’s New Westside Cemetery.

Per the MOU, Lot D will be transferred to the town for $1. Lot B would be purchased at $621,000, the same price per acre that the club has agreed to pay the Norton family. The purchase would come from free cash, a Proposition 2½ capital exclusion, a Proposition 2½ override, or another option. A 9.75-acre parcel (Lot C), which abuts Edgartown-West Tisbury Road to the north, will be retained by the Norton family. All plans for purchase and creation of easements would have to be approved with a two-thirds vote by town voters at annual town meeting on April 14.

A Proposition 2½ capital exclusion raises property taxes for a year to fund a specific capital project. A Proposition 2½ override increases property taxes indefinitely, and is usually for an ongoing expense the town needs to fund now and in the future. 

Town administrator James Hagerty previously told The Times the town wouldn’t put articles concerning the land purchase on the warrant until the club had submitted a finalized MOU outlining their plans for the property.

The MOU grants the club two key easements: an underground utility easement off Edgartown–West Tisbury Road and a road easement off Robinson Road for vehicle access that snakes around the parks department ballfield and courts.

The club will also pay the town up to $300,000 for any relocation of recreational facilities that have to be rebuilt or relocated to accommodate the easement. 

Hagerty said the process took several months, but the town and the club reached an agreement that benefited everyone.

“The end stage is that children can go from the Edgartown School to the Boys and Girls Club. That benefits the community, it benefits the younger generation and it keeps with the tradition of the Boys and Girls Club,” Hagerty said. “It helps a lot of people.”

The town has the right of first refusal to buy the new 14-acre club property and the land of the club’s existing property. While the project was signed by both parties, it still has to go before the town’s planning board and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission for approval.

“The Island is very grateful for the cooperation that has been given to [Damroth], [Hagerty] has been great,” board member Jeff Madison said after signing the agreement. “We’re grateful that we’ve finally been able to reach this agreement.”


Updated to include absence of Michael Donaroma. — Ed.