Monday, Jan. 27
- Board of Health, 10 a.m., Earle Mountain Meeting Room, Town Hall
- Eastham 400 Commemoration Committee, 10:30 a.m., Public Library
- Eastham Elementary School Committee, 5:30 p.m., Earle Mountain Meeting Room, Town Hall
Tuesday, Jan. 28
- Search Committee, 4 p.m., Small Meeting Room, Town Hall
- T-Time Development Committee, 5 p.m., Small Meeting Room, Town Hall
- Conservation Commission, 6 p.m., Earle Mountain Meeting Room, Town Hall
Thursday, Jan. 30
- Board of Health, 3 p.m., Earle Mountain Meeting Room, Town Hall
Progress and Debt at Willy’s
Willy’s Gym remains closed due to safety violations as reported in the Independent on Jan. 16. The gym has had a history of health violations and a pattern of complaints from members dating back to 2009; the pool room ceiling partially collapsed in April 2018; and an electrical “fire event” precipitated the town’s order to close on Dec. 12.
The idea that the town should consider buying the property was discussed at the first meeting of the T-Time Development Committee, the group charged with studying what to do with that parcel, which is located near the gym.
Select Board Chair Aimee Eckman said that the board has not formally discussed the idea, but, she added, a town purchase of Willy’s is not likely.
Eckman said the condition of the property is one concern. In addition, existing projects like the purchase of the 11-acre T-Time parcel and proposed future projects like the Nauset Regional High School renovation to be voted on this year already pose a significant tax burden on the town.
Willy’s owner Barbara Niggel sent two emails to members on Jan. 15, one about progress on reconnecting the fire system and performing a water test. “We have accomplished a lot in a very short amount of time,” Niggel wrote. In the second email, Niggel wrote that members will not be billed until the gym reopens and that paid-in-full members will have an extension of any loss of time caused by the closure.
Town Administrator Jacqui Beebe confirmed by e-mail on Jan. 21 that “Niggel has been working diligently to make the necessary changes to re-open the club.”
Beebe also wrote that relevant “structural and architectural reports have been received and are being reviewed by the building inspector. The water connection is complete and a permit has been issued to Rustic Fire to connect the fire suppression system and repair/replace needed components,” among other repairs.
“The town is encouraged by this progress and is focused with the owner to resolve any outstanding issues so that the club can be re-opened,” Beebe wrote.
Meanwhile Niggel faces financial pressure thanks to a mortgage she took out on the property. In March 2019 Niggel borrowed $4.6 million from GreenLake Investment Fund, a hedge fund based in Pasadena, Calif. The promissory note calls for full payment by Sept. 30, 2020, according to the mortgage document obtained by the Independent.
Niggel bought the former Norseman Athletic Club at 4730 State Highway in 2002 for $1.3 million, according to documents at the Barnstable County Registry of Deeds. Willy’s is currently assessed by the town at less than $3.1 million.
Niggel did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
She and her attorney, Ben Zehnder, are due to appear before the planning board on Feb. 19. She is seeking a special permit to construct six additional storage units on the Willy’s property. The units are proposed to replace four outdoor tennis courts. —Ryan Fitzgerald
Town Election News
Nomination papers are now available for the following positions in the town election on Tuesday, May 21:
Town moderator, one (three-year term)
Select board, two (three-year terms)
Town clerk, one (three-year term)
Elementary school committee member, two (three-year terms)
Library trustee, two (three-year terms)
Papers may be obtained at the Eastham Town Hall in the town clerk’s office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The last day to obtain papers is March 30 and they must be returned by 5 p.m. on April 1.
Call the town clerk’s office at (774) 801-3226 for more information.