Tisbury made a deal


To the Editor: 

Many people will be surprised and dismayed to learn that a local official in Tisbury has unilaterally determined to convert the Katharine Cornell Theater to the exclusive use of his office. What was supposed to be a temporary, emergency occupation during the pandemic is now lapsing into a permanent takeover — without any public notice, public hearing, or review. Surely the select board has something to say on behalf of the public they represent? “No comment,” said one; “no comment,” said another, negligently deferring to the town administrator, the official behind the scheme. And so a space that was dedicated to the use of the public for the enjoyment of the arts is now to be dedicated to office space for paper pushers.

It is said that there is “no covenant” dedicating the theater to the arts; but it’s a matter of public record — the town’s own records — that Katharine Cornell made the gift to restore the theater back in the 1970s with the understanding that it was to be used by the public for the enjoyment of the arts, and that the town accepted the gift of money with that understanding. Sounds like a covenant to me — and in any case the town is hardly in a position to deny that it agreed to the conditions of the gift when it accepted the money for that purpose. 

If the town administrator has grown so large that he needs more room to put up his feet, let the “no comment” select board members rent him a trailer, park it permanently outside for his exclusive use, and let the people back into the theater.

Michael Hall