Aquinnah took initial steps this week to address some much-needed repairs to town buildings and property.

The town is eyeing upgrades to the Aquinnah Circle restrooms, the area’s water line and the town hall parking lot. At its meeting Tuesday, the select board filled out a new building improvement committee, getting the ball rolling on the projects.

The board voted to appoint Jay Bodnar, Adrian Higgins and Jed Smith to create the new committee.

“We thought the three tradesmen from the community – who know the community well and know what’s best for the community – would be best served,” select board member Tom Murphy said.

Their first order of business will be improving the public restrooms at the Aquinnah circle and repairing the town hall parking lot. The public restrooms had become the subject of mild disgruntlement at town meeting earlier this year; the town recently allotted $42,000 to restroom cleaning, monitoring and maintenance.

The bulk of these costs are spent in the summer. In the off-season, the restrooms are closed and replaced by portable toilets.

On Monday, June 12, the select board will conduct a site visit with Jim Pickman, a member of the building improvement committee, to review potential locations for additional restrooms.

Town manager Jeffrey Madison said the town is also looking into replacing the water line in the Aquinnah circle, supplying water to the Aquinnah cliff shops and the restrooms. As it stands now, the water is too iron-laden to be usable, Mr. Madison said.

Select board member Juli Vanderhoop asked if the town could provide an estimate for the water repairs.

“I’ll tell you right now it’s not gonna be reasonable,” Mr. Madison replied.

Mr. Madison passed off the endeavor to the new building improvement committee, estimating it could cost the town as much as $50,000. The funding would come out of the $250,000 town maintenance repair budget.

“The main thing is getting water up to the shops,” Mr. Murphy said.

The new building committee was also tasked with looking into repairs to the town hall parking lot after residents and officials complained about several safety hazards. Select board members recommended refilling the lot, citing a deep rut going from the town hall building to the electric vehicle charging station.

Mr. Pickman said that the sight lines out of the parking lot were particularly dangerous, since cars leaving the lot could not clearly see oncoming traffic.

“I do remember bottoming out my car as I came out of Jeffer’s Lane,” Mr. Murphy added. “It needs attention for sure.”

In other maintenance business, the select board will look into treating the property around Aquinnah circle for ticks out of concern that tourists might not be aware of the local health hazard. The town will also add new parking signs to Circle North to better direct traffic how to park in the area.

“Cars are parking willy-nilly there,” Mr. Madison said.

The select board also voted to terminate several outstanding solar contracts in order to pursue a new, larger project with another developer. The town’s contract with the Cape and Vineyard Electric Cooperative (CVEC), procured in 2020, had originally planned to build solar arrays on the roofs of the town’s public safety buildings.

In lieu of that project, energy committee chair Bill Lake recommended the town focus on designing a joint microgrid with Chilmark. The microgrid, which would consist of a solar array and battery, would allow town buildings to keep power in the event of a larger grid failure. The project would be funded using a combination of federal funds and funds from Vineyard Power’s community subsidy program.

“This would go a long way in improving the town’s resiliency,” Mr. Lake said.

Mr. Lake said that the town has not yet spent any money on the previous solar contracts and pursuing both projects with both developers would prove unwieldy. He added that he serves on both the board of Vineyard Power and the board of CVEC, meaning he wears “three hats” on the issue.

The select board signed forms terminating the contracts with CVEC without further discussion.

“Any recommendation that comes from Bill Lake with all three hats is fine with me,” Mr. Murphy said.