Boys and Girls Club eyes spring expansion

The organization hopes to begin construction within the next year.

Rendering of the proposed facility. —Courtesy of MV Boys and Girls Club

Updated August 23

The Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club is looking to expedite the expansion of its campus, and hopes to break ground in the spring.

The club has been having to turn people away from program participation, as increased interest in the club’s afterschool and recreational programs makes it a struggle to keep up with the needs of the community, organization representatives have said. 

While plans for expansion had been in discussion for years, it wasn’t until 2021 that the club officially launched a public fundraising campaign to help cover costs of the project, following a series of complex land deals.

The club reached a purchase and sale agreement with the family of Philip (“Jeff”) Norton Jr. in 2019 to buy 21 acres in Edgartown for $2.8 million.

A subsequent, complex land deal struck between the Boys and Girls Club, the town of Edgartown, and the Norton family resulted in the nonprofit holding on to roughly 14 acres off Edgartown–West Tisbury Road, sandwiched between Sweetened Water Farm and town-owned land.

Plans for the new facility are set for a 2.4-acre area at 110 West Tisbury Road, and include the construction of a new clubhouse and an overall expansion of the club’s campus. In addition to a 25,080-square-foot main structure, the new site will have outdoor recreational facilities and a large parking area.

Per a written description of the project, the proposed construction site is adjacent to the Edgartown School and Robinson Road Recreational Area, in order to “maintain the club’s connection to Edgartown, and compatibility with the club’s mission to provide afterschool and recreational activities.”

In a brief presentation to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission last week, Boys and Girls Club board chair Norman Rankow explained that while there are details that still need to be hammered out, time is of the essence for beginning work on the new facility. 

But before coming under the required review by the MVC, or making its way through any public hearings, which would precede actual construction, the club will still need to provide additional material on the project, including energy, parking, housing plans, potential traffic issues, an access plan, and final nitrogen calculations. 

The club also has not submitted a finalized building plan, although a site plan has been reviewed by the town of Edgartown. 

A “comprehensive Energy Plan proposal” has been submitted to ensure “compliance with all Massachusetts stretch and national codes,” in addition to a solar-ready proposal, club reps say.

The organization must comply with Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP). Per a determination letter from NHESP, the project “must be conditioned” to avoid prohibited takes of state-listed species such as the imperial moth. 

Last month, the town pitched the idea of a potential land swap with the town of Edgartown — which would move the club’s proposed site — presenting another hurdle for the organization’s project, further complicating the path to obtaining necessary permits prior to building.

Though Rankow said that land deal wouldn’t affect the club’s project, “such a move would be a wholesale change to the application,” a Martha’s Vineyard Commission staff report states. “A land swap, which would require a town meeting vote, would cause a significant delay, [and] would significantly change the project.” 

“There’s a lot of ducks that need to be in a row,” Rankow said, but “we need to move forward.” Despite the significant list of things yet to be finalized before any construction, he said the goal is still to break ground this upcoming spring.

That means getting through the permitting process as soon as possible,” he said, adding that certain aspects of the club’s long-term project will be put on hold for future review, such as plans for solar energy, housing plans, and electric vehicle charging stations. 


  1. It is too bad how long and complicated it is to do a good thing. Hats off to those who are willing to take the challenge.

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