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Recreation district: Tennis could spark economy
The April 29 Park and Recreation District meeting needs a sharp criticism. Commissioner Fred Henninger invited a number of tennis enthusiasts to come in support of petitioning the district for sponsorship of an indoor facility. This was an honest attempt to gain support, but demonstrated a much deeper problem.
The Park district meeting took the first one and a half hours in a bitter dyspeptic discussion by board members about what was a two-thirds majority of five members. Mind you an attorney had been hired that defined a majority as 3.3 commissioners, which really became 4 of 5, i.e., 80 percent vice 66 percent. The board chairwoman found some enjoyment in blocking attempts by other commissioners at finding common ground and then voted absentee, as the majority issue could not be mathematically applied given the new legal definition of a two-thirds majority. This piece of legal advice cost $1,200. This is our local government and we witnessed gridlock right in our backyard/pool.
We tennis players believe that this island community deserves recognition as a potential draw to Whidbey Island. Without stretching imaginations, it might become a commercial draw. We have an incredible number of tennis members, estimated at 4,000 per a Rotary Club study and Im most interested in eliciting their support. I know at least 100 families that are devoted to tennis as a lifetime sport. On Whidbey, we are an emotionally and physically healthy group of players whose ages range from 16 years of age to 80 years.
Why should Oak Harbor not champion a vision that looks at finding business opportunities with a public draw to this island of limited rainfall as the perfect mecca for tennis gathering? We have a successful Race Week, we have a successful Whidbey Writers Association, and we have a successful Coupeville Arts Center as professional draws for visiting business and recreation. I see tennis as an additional successful draw to a community looking for identity while the BRAC process asks if NASWI will survive the cut.
Whidbey Island is better than any Whistler! We tennis players see an Oak Harbor/Whidbey home as an important part of the puzzle.
Oak Harbor could become a center for arts, a biking center, a golfing center, a corporate retreat, a commercial center, an educational center, a convention center, a boating/sailing center, an industrial center and of course a Tennis Center for the Northwest. The community needs an economic identity independent and supportive of the U.S. Navy.