To the Editor:
From the night of the fire that destroyed the Tisbury Inn in December 2001, to our reopening in July 2003, a matter of months elapsed. We can’t begin to describe the many challenges. Tisbury was declared a disaster area, and became eligible for SBA loans, because the loss of the inn reduced the income of many surrounding businesses. We’ve been involved in the town since 1972, when Sherm was an agency head of M.V. Community Services in the Tarlow Building (now EduComp), and ran a business, Grape Pleasures, on Main Street, and in 1985, the Tisbury Inn. After the fire, we were tempted to walk away, because our insurance was totally inadequate to rebuild, but our community ties kept us from leaving a large, empty hole at the foot of Vineyard Haven’s Main Street.
Now, that might be worthy of an MV Times story.
Given the efforts of our family, architects, engineers, contractors, local banks, many local subcontractors, the MVC, town boards, and the community, we rebuilt. Two years after opening we discovered, after a particularly rainy winter/spring, groundwater intrusion in the basement. We immediately retained Island engineer Kent Healy, who found that the water table was only inches below the lowest area of the basement. The water has been tested several times, and the results submitted to the state and the town, which found it to be just that, groundwater, containing no other contaminants. Kent Healy suggested, and with the help of Schofield Barbini & Hoene and the approval of the town, we repurposed the existing leaching field under our parking lot, which had been abandoned with the connection to the town sewer, and installed several sumps in the basement to pump the groundwater out to the underground field. Additionally, with the expertise of Nelson Mechanical, we constructed a geothermal system which uses the cold groundwater in the warmer seasons to cool the building’s HVAC equipment, and in the winter to heat the water going into the boilers and pool before its discharge back into the groundwater table via the leaching field. This innovative, energy-saving system has earned both Mansion House and Nelson Mechanical several awards for “green engineering.”
Mansion House pays over $100,000 a year, plus betterment fees, to Tisbury for the much-discussed sewage treatment facility. We have never, in all these years, been late on a sewer or tax bill.
Everything we have done in the past year, following another very wet winter/spring, to ameliorate the excess groundwater flow has been done with the knowledge of the town, the board of health, and DPW. There has never been an attempt to hide or disguise the issue, including when there was a change of staff on the town boards.
Mansion House has been working with Reid Silva and his staff at Vineyard Engineering, since the spring, to design and install an increase in the capacity of the leaching field to accommodate the groundwater flow. The town has been kept informed, on a regular basis, of these plans and efforts. Despite the delays caused by the upheaval from the pandemic, the mandated closure of buildings and backlog in businesses, along with an abbreviated season, we expect those efforts to reach fruition very shortly.
Investigative journalism is a good thing, but with so much going on, we question why our transparent, open effort to solve a problem of nature‘s making was headlined and emailed to your readers.
Sherman and Susan Goldstein
The Goldsteins are owners of Mansion House Inn. –Ed.