The topic of where to use the restroom when visiting the Beetlebung Corner area of Chilmark came up in a select board meeting as the town prepares for a busy summer of visitors and programming taking place at the Chilmark Community Center.
Officials with the Center say it has become the unofficial public restroom. But Suellen Lazarus, President of the Chilmark Town Affairs Council (CTAC), voiced her concerns for the safety of the children attending the community center’s Camp.
“We’ve always kept it open because it’s something we’ve always done. But when you think about it, we have strangers coming in all day long,” Lazarus said.
A bus stop for Chilmark is located near the community center. Lazarus said that passengers and contractors are entering the facility during camp hours and using the restroom alongside children.
The select board agreed with the possibility of finding an alternative.
“We need to find a reasonable solution for the center of town,” select board member Bill Rossi said. “I think it’s going to require a little more planning.”
Rossi said a temporary restroom solution for five or six months a year made more sense than building a new restroom for the bus stop. “The problem right now is that we don’t have any budget for it,” he said.
But Lazarus said she first brought the issue up in November. “It was the select board’s decision in the fall that they would organize a separate restroom. Now we’re wondering, what is it? Because people will come and we want to be able to direct them somewhere,” she said.
The Public library is an option, but the hours are limited. No solution was reached at the meeting.
In other news, “A Long Talk,” a special program geared towards understanding racism and offering tools to combat it, will be hosted at the Community Center this summer. Founded by educator and activist Kyle Williams, the program will be held in two, two-hour sessions on June 26 and June 29. This event will be open to the public. The program was designed for small groups, but is being translated for a larger community outreach this summer.
“We’d love to piggyback off your efforts,” Rossi said of Lazarus’s anti-racist community-building programming.
Lazarus also announced a new summer executive director has been hired for the Chilmark Community Center. Trey Lawson is an educator from Los Angeles. “He understands the scope of the job,” said Lazarus. “We’re investing heavily in programming.”