Town Hall

The old West Tisbury town hall — a tall, 1870 mansard-roofed building that stands proudly between the Grange Hall and the Congressional Church — is ready for her makeover.

Up until last week she was still the center of the community, but time has clearly taken its toll on the three-story, high-ceilinged building that formerly housed the West Tisbury school and Dukes County Academy. Paint chips along windowsills resemble piles of potato chips and the wooden floor has warped to the point where there is a noticeable tilt.


West Tisbury selectmen this week put the brakes on plans to scale back the troubled town hall renovation project.

The deadlocked 1-1 vote on Wednesday cut off funding for the redesign and effectively killed the renovation - at least for now.

Selectman John Early said that although he still wants the existing town hall to be renovated, he did not believe the scaled back project could be completed within the $3.7 million budget. He said he would not proceed without additional support from town voters.


After more than seven years of debate, West Tisbury voters this week soundly approved a $3.7 million renovation project for their town hall.

At a special town meeting held in the elementary school gymnasium Tuesday night, the town hall article, which needed two-thirds approval, passed 119-11, with more than 90 per cent of the vote.

But before the sound of hammers can begin to ring in the town village, voters must first approve the project again at a special town election next week.

Proposed renovations to the West Tisbury town hall will once again be the center of public debate when voters gather for a special town meeting in the elementary school gymnasium on Tuesday. Town moderator Pat Gregory will open discussion of the 11-article warrant at 7 p.m.

Other topics to be considered include an amendment to the affordable housing zoning bylaw, as well as appropriations for a consultant to examine the up-Island regional school district and preliminary planning of a path from the youth hostel to the town center.

And now another bit of bad news for the already troubled West Tisbury town hall: Rats have taken up residence there. T.J. Hegarty, county rodent officer, was called in and found plenty of evidence by just taking a walk around the building. He found a network of tunnels. "There is a well-established colony," Mr. Hegarty said yesterday.

The West Tisbury town hall is a problem that just won't go away. Voters at a special town meeting this week will be asked to take the project back to square one, funding the design phase of renovating the 132-year-old town hall, a former school building.