A longtime Gosnold town leader plans to step down next month after 24 years on the select board. 

Gail Blout, who has served eight terms on the select board of the state’s smallest town, will not run for reelection at the May town meeting. Ms. Blout said she decided over a year ago it was time to let someone else take the reins.

“It was just the right time for me to step down,” she said in an interview with the Gazette. “Hopefully there are other individuals who can step up to the plate.” 

Ms. Blout is from Cambridge and started coming to Cuttyhunk, the main island in the town of Gosnold, with her husband. She got involved in town government about 25 years ago on a board involved with Cuttyhunk’s West End Pond and dredging. 

“I just wanted to help the town,” she said. 

Situated to the northwest of the Vineyard, the town of Gosnold is a group of islands and the seventh town in Dukes County. Most of the islands are private, but Cuttyhunk is accessible via a ferry from New Bedford. 

Cuttyhunk has only about a dozen year-round residents but the population swells to several hundred in the summer. 

In such a tiny town, the select board wears many hats. Its members also make up the planning board and electric light commission. In the past, they also served as the conservation commission, and Ms. Blout said she’s been hands-on in writing grants for the town. 

“We are really involved....We’ve always been in charge of projects,” she said. “Those are not things done by other select boards.” 

She was proud of the work done to keep Cuttyhunk’s infrastructure running, from starting a fuel farm, to installing a new well field and working to keep the harbor channel clear. 

During her tenure, the town has also seen a large swath of Cuttyhunk be preserved, had its last student graduate from the town’s one-room school house, and worked towards keeping the ferry at the New Bedford state pier

Gosnold select board members are elected at the annual town meeting, unlike most towns that hold a separate town election. There are no nomination papers but resident Winthrop Sanford has publicly said he is running, town clerk Lisa Wright said. 

Ms. Blout expected a new select board member would have to continue dealing with dredging, stabilizing Barges Beach and keeping the cost of living on the island down. 

With only a few weeks left in office, Ms. Blout advised the next generation of town leaders to listen to the community, ask for help and not get too frustrated when things get tough. 

“I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly, I’ve learned a lot,” she said. “It’s been rewarding, at times frustrating.”