Sports

Tennis resolve advances game

Whidbey Island’s recreation options are on the verge of broadening after community members took several steps advancing toward the creation of an indoor tennis facility on the island.

After months of discussion, drafting resolutions and hurdling obstacles, commissioners for the North Whidbey Parks and Recreation District recently resolved to partner with the Whidbey Island Tennis Association (WITA) to add a tennis facility to the district’s sphere of management.

To allow for this addition, commissioners held a special meeting June 28 to discuss the changes and vote to amend the district’s bylaws to facilitate this addition.

During this meeting, the district commissioners not only agreed to partner with WITA to bring an indoor tennis facility to the island, but also determined which entity would have responsibility for the various aspects of making this proposed facility a reality.

“It allows WITA to take the next step,” said Park Commissioner Brien Lillquist. “Now they can continue.”

WITA member David Weisbrod said the meeting only lasted 15 minutes, but substantiated years of research and effort.

“The resolution is the first foot in the door,” he said. “It’s the first hurdle overcome.”

He said this resolution is testimony that the Park District is officially behind WITA’s tennis facility proposal.

The resolution states that the tennis facility is planned to stand within the district’s geographic boundaries, and since WITA’s tennis facility goals are in accordance with the district’s mission statement, the district agrees to take on the responsibility of the tennis facility operation and staff once it’s built.

All staff fees and facility expenses will come out of the tennis facility revenue rather than tax dollars.

One of the biggest determining factors for the district was WITA’s agreement that the district would not accept any responsibility for expenses or liabilities acquired during the preparation, construction or operation of the tennis facility.

Lillquist said that a lack of agreement between WITA and the district’s commissioners on wording to clarify the district’s responsibilities and freedom from liability had deterred the commissioners from agreeing to adopt the proposed resolution previously.

He said the resolution had to have wording acceptable to WITA and the district before they could adopt it.

WITA representatives agreed to this, adding that they would pay for the facility through grants, gifts, and eventually facility revenue in order to keep the district free from the financial burden of starting a new facility.

“Basically, we made the words agreeable to both parties to accommodate the tennis facility,” Lillquist said.

Members of WITA, the district and community members agree that the addition of an indoor tennis facility will widen recreational opportunities on the island and allow tennis players a place where they can teach, practice and play tennis yearlong.

Community Events, April 2014

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