The Dukes County Commission will move forward with Edgartown’s bid to take over management of Norton Point Beach, after the Trustees of Reservations announced last week that it would not renew its contract to manage the approximately two-mile shorefront connecting Edgartown and Chappaquiddick.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Islands Director for The Trustees Darci Schofield confirmed the group’s decision not to renew their contract.

“We want to express our sincere gratitude for having the honor to manager this very special place,” she said. “We also want to strongly reiterate our commitment to help make a smooth transition.”

Mrs. Schofield said the Trustees would provide opportunities for training Edgartown staff on the area’s ecology and on over-sand vehicle management.

“They can plan ahead and be ready for those key moments when shorebirds will want to challenge over sand vehicles as they always do,” Ms. Schofield said

The county, which owns the beach, voted at its meeting Wednesday to allow county manager Martina Thornton to enter into contract negotiations with the Edgartown parks department.

The Trustees had managed the beach since 2006 before their decision to pull out last week. Edgartown made a formal pitch to take over management of the beach earlier this month.

Both county commissioners and Edgartown officials urged a speedy management transition process, with the Trustees’ current contract expiring on March 31.

“The clock is ticking, and there’s a lot of moving parts,” said commissioner Leon Brathwaite.

Edgartown parks commissioner Andrew Kelley agreed.

“We do have to get some stuff going pretty quickly here. There is a lot of paperwork,” he said.

According to county manager Maria Thornton, management contracts with municipalities are exempt from certain aspects of the normal procurement process, meaning that the county can award Edgartown control of the beach without putting the project out to bid. Mr. Kelley said that while funding for the takeover would have to be procured in an upcoming special town meeting, the parks commissioners were authorized to enter contract negotiations without voter approval in order to speed up the process.

But with The Trustees relinquinshing beach control, some commissioners raised concerns about a Trustees’ planned beach nourishment project at Norton Point, which had received private funding and $100,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act. Ms. Schofield said the group was “still deliberating” about whether to continue the project but assured the commission that they were making efforts to keep that federal funding earmarked for Norton Point.

In other business, the commission approved a 40-year lease for Vineyard Wind to build a hangar at the airport. The new hanger will house helicopters used to maintain the offshore wind farm, with Vineyard Wind estimating around four flights every day.

The board also said goodbye to commissioners Leon Brathwaite and Keith Chatinover, both of whom were attending their last meeting. New commissioners Doug Ruskin, James Klingensmith and Juli Vanderhoop will be sworn in at the commission’s next meeting, on Jan 4., 2023.