To the editor: While most of the controversy about the November 7th Town Meeting has surrounded short-term rentals, lost in the debate has been Article 10 to approve desperately needed improvement and expansion of fields at Nobadeer Fields.
During last year’s annual meeting, I was amazed, as I suspect many were, at the number and total of expenditures approved that night. What I did not expect was that the article to expand and upgrade the playing fields at Nobadeer would be the only one defeated. Some people questioned the Town’s maintenance of the existing fields, and I would concede that was the case at times in the past. However, since adding our manager of Parks and Recreation that has changed, significantly, for the better. I urge you to go out and look at the playing fields now and judge anew. Furthermore, Parks and Rec has developed a stronger relationship with our public schools, increasing collaboration so that island students have greater access to town playing fields than ever before.
More to the point is the extreme need for more playing spaces. We all know how quickly Nantucket has grown. Consequently, we have more children playing more sports than ever before. This year youth lacrosse has approximately 150 participants. Youth soccer has over 450 participants. Adult soccer has over 100. Next year, I am sure there will be more. This does not count the number of school athletes who are now using the Nobadeer fields. Although exciting, this places a heavy burden on our grass fields and creates a challenge to find field space. It is very clear to anyone involved in our youth that we need more fields. Let us not forget the impact the pandemic has had on our children. They need greater access to playing spaces! If we don’t where might they turn? To what might they devote their time?
Fortunately, after Town Meeting, this article was overturned at the ballot box. Now, we have an opportunity to do the right thing for our children, as I have always seen us do. Please come to Town Meeting on November 7th and vote to approve this article. It is a crucial time to invest in our children!
Nantucket Parks & Recreation Commission
Former Superintendent of Schools