For more than a decade I have had a low-grade obsession with the St Pierre property in Vineyard Haven, the site of an old Marine Hospital that sits high on a bluff overlooking Lagoon Pond and the Vineyard Harbor beyond. The evocative 4.4 acre property is a short walk from downtown. It is surrounded by small lots with small homes.
The imposing wood-frame hospital was built in 1895 by the U.S. government to treat soldiers, sailors, and their families. In 1935 they expanded with a brick addition on the rear and continued to operate the hospital. When it closed in the mid-fifties the St Pierre family bought it and operated it as a school and summer camp (and then just a summer camp) for 50 years. In 2007 Barbara St Pierre, daughter of the founders of the St Pierre School, ceased operation. The 10,000 SF building is in a state of disrepair, but it still has very good bones and begs for new life.
Cheers and tears. That’s the way of a Vineyard housing lottery.
On Tuesday, March 30th, a standing room only crowd packed the meeting room at the Howes House. At stake: seven new LEED platinum houses at Eliakim’s Way off State Road in West Tisbury. There was a mix of nervous applicants, expectant children, public officials, and housing advocates.
In the front of the room David Vigneault and Terri Keech of the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority, lottery administrators, explained the process. A complex matrix of preferences and qualifications was so arcane nobody could actually understand it. The crowd chuckled when David finished his explanation and said, “Is that all clear?”
The Island Plan is complete.
Four years in the making, this long-term plan for the future of Martha’s Vineyard, initiated by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, engaged hundreds of people in the collaborative process of its production. To quote from the plan: “ The purpose of the Island Plan is to chart a course to the kind of future the Vineyard community wants, and to outline a series of actions to help us navigate that course. The Island Plan is both a blueprint and a call to action.”
I served on the Steering Committee and chaired one of the nine work groups – Livelihood & Commerce (the others are Development & Growth, Natural Environment, the Built Environment, Energy & Waste, Affordable Housing, Transportation, Water Resources, and Social Environment).
I spent more time working on the plan than I wished to and less time than I should have.
I love to buy books and read books. I don’t often use the library. I don’t own a Kindle. I buy books. But I’ve noticed that I end up reading only about two thirds of the books I buy. Not a good percentage. Each of those I don’t read wastes stuff: paper, ink, money, time, and space. I’d like to raise the percentage.
I’m still excited about the budding alliance between the United Steelworkers (USW) and the Mondragon Cooperatives – and the general awakening consciousness about worker co-operatives and co-operative business in general that I wrote about last month.
And there’s more.