Updated 12:30 pm, Wednesday
Edgartown has a town picnic scheduled for Sept. 12 to celebrate the town’s 350th birthday, but whether that moves forward depends on a board of health vote scheduled for Wednesday. The decision comes as the Island has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases, with 79 positive test results for last week, a drop from 97 the week before. There were four additional COVID clusters reported last week, as well.
“I’m assuming it’s more likely to get canceled, but we’ll see what the situation is on the ground,” town administrator James Hagerty told the select board Monday. He thinks moving it to the spring is a possibility, and would be “seamless.”
Hagerty updated the board on the plans for the town picnic, should it move forward. The town celebration, which would include barbecue, a beer garden, and live music by the Dock Dance Band, is slated for the recreational area near the Edgartown Public Library and Edgartown School.
The town budgeted $10,000 during a town meeting in June for the picnic, Hagerty said. The rain date, should the event be held this month, is Sept. 25.
Along with the town funds, the Edgartown Board of Trade has gotten businesses to sponsor the event. Washashore Beer Co., for example, will host the beer garden.
Tisbury also planned a town anniversary celebration for September, but decided to cancel it because of the rise in COVID cases.
In other news, Bass in the Grass received unanimous approval to use the mini-park for its fourth auction of painted bass. According to Erin Ready, representative of Bass in the Grass, there are already 26 sponsored bass ready to “swim in” to the event, and the art pieces will be displayed for about two weeks starting on Sept. 20, if weather permits.
Meanwhile, the Chappy Ferry was given unanimous approval to suspend its “cut line,” which has allowed some emergency and commercial vehicles to move to the front of the ferry line.
According to Peter Wells, co-owner of the ferry, the suspension of the cut line is necessary because of required ferry maintenance, which will mean taking one of the ferries out of rotation.
This suspension of the cut line will start when the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby ends on Oct. 16, and last until Thanksgiving. Wells said a very limited number of vehicles, such as school buses, medical staff, and emergency vehicles, will still be allowed to cut in front of others. Commercial vehicles, such as concrete contractors, will need to wait in line with commuters.
Hagerty said the Chappaquiddick Ferry steering committee agreed with Wells’ recommendation.
In other business, Vineyard Power Cooperative president Richard Andre gave a presentation about sustainable wind farms. Vineyard Power is a partner in the Vineyard Wind project being built south of the Island. Vineyard Wind plans to have a facility located on Beach Road in Tisbury.
Andre said the projects would benefit the town’s electricity delivery. Additionally, Andre said, education will be provided by Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and ACE MV to train future employees of Vineyard Wind’s wind farms. Bristol Community College, in Fall River, is offering college-level courses with the same intent. Andre said the first group is expected to graduate by December, and will be set up with interviews. Andre also requested that Edgartown choose a representative join an advisory committee for the projects. According to Andre, all other Island towns have selected representatives for the advisory committee, except Tisbury, which is restaffing its energy committee. Select board member Michael Donaroma nominated Alan Strahler, member of the Edgartown energy committee, to be the representative. The board unanimously approved this nomination, but Hagerty said he must explore whether there will be a conflict of interest by having Strahler on the committee.
Meanwhile, Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby Committee chairman Joe El-Deiry received unanimous approval to reserve four parking spots near the Edgartown Junior Yacht Club in which to park the grand prize — a 22-foot Eastern boat — for the duration of the Derby. El-Deiry also said COVID guidelines will be followed for the Derby.
Additionally, Juliet Mulinare was reappointed to the Edgartown beautification committee.