President Obama’s choice of residence on Martha’s Vineyard this summer is damaging local small businesses, which are watching sales dry up during the year’s busiest time because of a road closure ordered for security reasons.
Unable to stay at the more-secluded estate where he resided during previous trips to the island, the Obamas this year selected a house that is close to a major road, forcing it’s closure during the entirety of their eight days in residence.
The Vineyard Gazette reported that “the traffic change will keep people away from the (West Tisbury) village center at the very height of summer,” resulting in a potential disaster for some:
“We are very impacted by this,” said Andrea Rogers, manager for the Vineyard Artisans Festivals, which take place Thursdays and Sundays at the Grange Hall. More than 70 artists sell ceramics, jewelry and art at the festivals. “August is our make it or break it month, so this is the worst possible time of the year to block access,” she added. “It impacts a lot of people.” . . .
She said the signs make it seem that people have to turn right, away from the downtown area, and are especially confusing to visitors. “I know they have to do what they have to do,” she said. “I understand the way the world works. I just feel it could have been done a bit differently.” “We’re really in a bad position at a critical time of year . . . we’re trying to survive the winter.”
Other businesses are similarly suffering, noted the Martha’s Vineyard Times:
At Alley’s General Store, owned by the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust (MVPT), the road closure’s impact is evidenced by empty parking spaces, usually a scarce commodity in the summer and especially in mid-August.
“Basically, the major East-West corridor on the Island has been turned into a dead end,” MVPT executive director Chris Scott told The Times in a phone call Tuesday. “It will be thousands of dollars lost.”
Meanwhile, Obama and his foursomes are parading onto golf courses and shunting aside other vacationers. “No tee time is safe,” reported the Martha’s Vineyard Patch.
But golfers seemed to be taking the inconvenience in good humor, losing a tee time instead of income.
“So, first he took our tee time but it was our privilege,” golfer Bill Hait said of the presidential foursome. “And then the Secret Service held us back but also helped us find one of our lost balls, so all in all it was extremely positive.”
Obama will end his vacation Sunday.