June 28th Update on Star Island Closure from Brad Greeley, President
I appreciate your patience and your frustration during this crisis that has caused us to cancel or relocate three of our first weeks of conferences. It is awful. And no one of us on the Board or throughout the Staff feel anything but grief.
What we undertook as a determined and no holes barred effort to correct the list of deficiencies reported to us by the Rye Fire Chief and the State Fire Marshal has failed, at this point, to achieve the desired results.
The State electric engineer did a major report on the needs of much of the Island in 2001. Many of the things on that list have been attended to in the interim. But not all.
The State Fire Marshal informed us officially today that we cannot open until there is a full study of all electrical systems on the Island and work on them to date. We may also need to complete certain projects identified in that report if they are high priority in terms of safety. We have already hired an electrical engineering consultant to do that work. We are arranging with our electrician contractor to follow the consultant and fix everything that he finds deleterious.
The electrical engineering consultant estimates that this work will be complete in a month.
This is horrific news. That our Island home is deemed to be so far from achieving occupancy for our conferences. That our awareness of this is just now being asserted after 5 years of work. That in spite of our intentions we failed to do all we could in the 5 years to assure this would not happen. That so many of us for whom this Island is home to our annual religious retreat will not be able to experience that special time. That not being able to house you and our other conferees on the Island for so many weeks could raise havoc with the plans of 100 Pelicans who are counting on the summer for income and an important personal experience. And that it will create a financial crisis for our beloved Island that will tax us to the limits. This is horrific news.
We are doing everything in our power to be sure that there is no other course that can be taken in these coming weeks. We would not for a moment more wish to put any of you, our conferees and friends, at risk. This is all about safety. Yet we want to be sure there are not alternatives to this horrific situation.
I have appointed a committee to ascertain why we are in this crisis and to recommend needed changes to Board policy and process and to Staff practices and staffing. They will report to the Board in August.
Our grief, yours and mine, is very real. I, we, are deeply sorry for suffering that this crisis has caused so many of us. You and I know that it will take some serious time and effort to repair all the damage that has been. Let me dare to mention to you that it will also take money. There is no doubt in my mind that if we had had sufficient funds, we would never have failed to make our Island compliant with the safety codes. We are well begun on making it safe. We have a long way to go to have sufficient funds to do so. We need everyone to help, more, in that regard.
In the spirit of the Island,
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Star Island Corporation
10 Vaughan Mall, Suite 8, Worth Plaza * Portsmouth, NH 03801
(603) 430-6272 * email@example.com * www.starisland.org