Storm levels Vineyard Youth Tennis center

The Martha's Vineyard Youth Tennis Center, destroyed in a March storm, just got a grant for $250,000 from MVYouth to replace the bubble. — Gabrielle Mannino

The hurricane-force winds of last week’s nor’easter have knocked the Vineyard Youth Tennis center out of commission indefinitely.

Vineyard Youth Tennis chairman Chris Scott told The Times on Tuesday that the vinyl bubble that encased the courts deflated when the blowers that kept it inflated shut down after the backup generator failed.

“Right now we know there’s about 50 feet of tears in the vinyl, and all the doors need to be repaired,” he said. “We can’t get inside to assess the damage without taking the thing apart or repairing the vinyl to the point where it can be reinflated. We anticipate the lights have all been damaged as well.”

Scott said contractors will be coming from off-Island this weekend to assess if the vinyl can be repaired and reinflated.

“We’ll know more after this weekend,” he said. “Getting the bubble reinflated is the first step. They tend to have a life of 15 years, and this one is closing in on that in any case. We have some decisions to make. I’m meeting with folks at the YMCA to discuss the problem, and bubbles in general, and start thinking about the future.”

Scott said the cause of the backup generator failure is still unknown.

“There must have been a tremendous amount of force,” he said. “Steel doors with metal braces were knocked over, and the revolving door was completely out of its frame.”

On a positive note, Scott said that Vineyard Youth Tennis has barely skipped a beat, thanks to the help of Connie McHugh at Airport Fitness and Tennis Center.

“We were only down one day,” he said. “All the various age groups have been contacted, and they’re getting court time with our instructors at the facility. Connie has been great to work with.”