with permission from Martha’s Vineyard Times

Following approval of the effort at a special town meeting in March, Aquinnah selectmen issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking a tenant for a portion of the Aquinnah Circle.

To no one’s surprise, selectmen received just one proposal by the April 17 deadline, from Ted Cammann and James Glavin of Aquinnah. The two men brought the idea for an outdoor performing arts center adjacent to the Gay Head cliffs to the Aquinnah town meeting.

Mr. Cammann is a producer of live musical events, and Mr. Glavin is the owner of Deca Construction.

They propose to lease the circle area, beginning June 1, 2009 for 10 years with an option to renew. Events would be held between June 1 and Sept. 30, and be limited to 2,500 tickets for each event. The town would receive $1 per ticket for for-profit events.

Selectmen will hold a public hearing on the proposal described in a five-page letter and brochure at 7 pm, Thursday, April 30, in town hall.

In a letter to the selectmen dated April 17, Mr. Cammann and Mr. Glavin propose to negotiate a ground lease, operating agreement, and enabling document establishing a citizen advisory board, all of which could be presented to voters at a May 19 special town meeting.

They propose to use the land’s natural topography to provide a natural amphitheater. The stage would be placed in the lower section so that the audience would be looking out in the direction of Nomans Land.

Mr. Glavin described the project and answered questions from voters at the Aquinnah special town meeting on March 3.

Mr. Glavin told voters that the only way the men could make the plan work financially and attract needed support was if they had a guaranteed lease term within which to work and recoup their investments. At the town meeting, Mr. Glavin said the town would share in the profits, if there were any, and the town and Island organizations would gain a professional performance venue.

By a vote of 40-15 voters approved an article that authorized the selectmen to solicit requests for proposals to construct a performing arts center stage.

The proposal has faced some opposition from Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) officials, most notably from Bettina Washington, the tribe’s historic preservation officer.

Initially, moderator Walter Delaney said the circle lease proposal would be presented on a special town meeting warrant to be convened prior to the annual town meeting on May 12. Instead, anticipating extensive discussion, selectmen decided to move the special town meeting to May 19.