Recent reports have highlighted select issues from the debate regarding the administration of tennis in Chilmark that is up for vote on April 23 at town meeting. The proposal at hand is meant to address stewardship of the tennis program by the Chilmark Town Affairs Council leadership.

The real decision facing the voters of Chilmark is: what is best for the community?

From all angles, a “YES” vote on the Town Tennis Committee proposal is the only way to protect the interests of the entire community. The proposed bylaw would incur no incremental costs to the town, ensure inclusive access, provide community input and public accountability subject to Commonwealth laws, and preserve what has historically been great about Chilmark tennis.

• The Chilmark Town Affairs Council is currently reliant on town funding to maintain the tennis courts. The Town Tennis Committee proposal would be entirely self-funding, with no risk to taxpayers, and yield a surplus to reinvest in more youth programming.

• The proposed Town Tennis Committee would be responsible for ensuring that year-round programming includes adults and youth alike (including allowances for those needing financial assistance). No one will be turned away for financial reason, especially Island kids. The Town Tennis Committee would also provide full access to Chilmark Community Center summer campers. The Chilmark Town Affairs Council has erroneously asserted the proposal would deny youth access to the courts. This is false.

• As it stands today there is no oversight mechanism for the community to address their concerns. The Town Tennis Committee proposed in the bylaw would be accountable to the town by reporting to the select board. It would not impose significant new administrative or financial burdens on the town. The decision-making that governs the courts would simply shift from a private, non-accountable body to a publicly accountable one with transparent proceedings and reporting responsibilities.

There is a storied, vibrant and winning history of community building through tennis in Chilmark. A “Yes” vote for the Town Tennis Committee proposal is a vote to ensure inclusive access, provide desperately needed accountability and save the tennis community of Chilmark, all at zero cost to the town budget. Vote Yes on April 23.

Jay Grossman

Friends and Associates of Chilmark Tennis