Oak Bluffs: Plans for new streetscape

— Shelby Regan

Wisdom from the Old Farmer’s Almanac tells us “when birds and badgers are fat in October, expect a cold winter.” I haven’t spotted any fat badgers but there are still many plump birds flying around the feeders. As the yard is being cleaned up before winter, it appears to me at least, that the birds are bolder than ever as they loudly scold and fly closer when we venture into their secret perching areas. The leaves vanish with the raking but all is not barren as the fall asters and yellow goldenrod are now visible, bringing a bit of color to replace the loss of our bright summer flowers. And so the cycle of life continues, much faster than it did 10 or so years ago.

A gentle reminder for Oak Bluffs residents: Have you viewed the current plans of the Oak Bluffs Streetscape Committee? It is somewhat difficult to view the pictures that were in the newspapers, but log onto Town of Oak Bluffs and click on the planning board and you will be privy to much information regarding these plans. The committee has been working hard for a long time, so please peruse the plans carefully and give honest feedback and suggestions to  them. Some ideas and plans suggest parallel parking on some sections of Circuit Ave., removal and replacement of trees both on the avenue and Healy Square, removal of the planter in Healy Square that faces Circuit Ave., changing the parking along the bulkhead in front of the Summercamp hotel to diagonal parking which would mean having to remove several feet of the grass in front of the bulkhead. That being said, we know that Healy Square does need an overhaul but I do hope they will leave the benches. Many is the time myself and friends have waited there while waiting for a seat at Linda Jeans or to be picked up for a ride. The sidewalks now are lethal and my understanding is that replacement of those are the top priority. Although brick looks very attractive, it is dangerous to anyone who has difficulty walking or has to use a cane or wheelchair. I worry that plans are ahead for closing more of the Avenue to cars, which to me and anyone who is handicapped, means the end of shopping at my favorite stores. I also am concerned about removing any grass areas. We need more, not less green. However those are my concerns. I would love to see new level sidewalks, which I understand is the board’s top priority and a refurbished Healy Square and perhaps some of the money could be used to repair a few streets that are in disrepair. However your desires, please pass them on to the planning to assist them in their final decisions.

The Derby is in full swing and an excellent place to socially distance and enjoy a fun fishing experience. Five-year-old Ethan Rivers won second place in the Mini Jr. Boat Bonita Division last week. Proud parents Marques and Sarah Rivers will be having a steady diet of fish on the table if this keeps up. Full disclosure: I am Ethan’s proud great-grandmother.

Sincere condolences to the friends and family of Lynn Gatchell who passed away this week. A much loved wife, mother, grandmother, and teacher, she will be missed by all those who loved her. She, along with her husband Bob and family, will also be remembered by so many of us throughout the Island by the magnificent Christmas light displays at her home on County Road for the past many years. If you wish to remember Lynn, donations to the Food Pantry in her memory would be appreciated. We are so sorry.

Condolences to the family of former Oak Bluffs resident Bob Reed who passed last week. Bob helped raise his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren after his wife Diane passed suddenly at a very young age and he is reunited with her at last. He was a devoted family man and is remembered by many friends here as a talented sheetrock installer and talented worker. So sorry for your loss.

Belated birthday smiles to Grace Vanderhoop, Elyse Madeiras, and Bob Blythe on Oct. 2, Will deBettencourt IV on the 5th, Tony White on the 5th, Robert Moreis and Mikaella Blake on Oct. 6, and Donna Joyce on the 7th. Smiles to Ann Knight and SPC Daniel Blake on the 8th,  Todd Rebello on the 9th, grandson Ben Alley, Anita Billings, and Maximus Metell on Oct. 10, Zack Sweeney, Joe deBettencourt, Kristen Mathias, and my sister, Joyce Wadsworth, on the 11th,  Marty Nadler and Alexis Moreis on the 13th, Jen Combra on the 14th, and Diane Claussen on Oct. 15.

Enjoy your week. Peace.

If you have any Oak Bluffs Town Column suggestions, email Megan Alley, meganislandmegan@comcast.net.