To the Editor:
While driving around town a couple of weeks ago (June 17), I was thinking about the letter Ginny Jones and Leah Smith sent to the ZBA about Stillpoint. I find it hard to believe that two women I have known and admired most of my life could be so out of touch that they could write such a vitriolic letter purporting to come from the entire planning board. They would like us to think they are representing the town, and not just their own distorted views.
Such letters so filled with inaccurate and misleading statements have no place in our town government. If their idea of what makes a “for-profit business” is that any use for which the nonprofit gets paid, then the Ag Hall (a nonprofit) should be right up there at the top of the list. For this shoulder season weekend, there was the West Tisbury eighth grade graduation on Thursday evening (way over 100 people), which the Ag Society gets paid for, there was the Farmer’s Market Saturday morning, with again way over 100 people, and in the evening a very large wedding, with amplified sound I could hear at my house at least a mile away (hundreds of people, and of course the Ag Society gets paid). This is the other side of Polly Hill from Stillpoint, but very much part of the same neighborhood. I think all of those uses were great; they are part of what makes us a community. They are not some awful events to be shunned.
Not to pick on the Ag Society alone, but trying to put Stillpoint in perspective, on Friday evening there was a lovely fundraiser at the Field Gallery with 220 sold tickets, and 40 or so catering staff and board members. There was amplified music and amplified speeches, people milling about having a good time, and all this in a space with no parking at all, and neighbors nearby in all directions. I thought it was totally appropriate and really well done, but still two or three times bigger than anything Stillpoint will ever do, and of course, just across the street there was a fairly large meeting going on in the church parish hall.
This business of trying to calculate the total number of people using a particular place in the course of a year is absurd, and very misleading. The total at a given event might be useful for planning purposes, but putting together annual totals is just to scare people. The Ag Society has well over 40,000 people on their grounds during the week of the fair, more than Stillpoint will see in a year, and again it is a wonderful event, and beloved by the Island community. Please do not let the fear mongers rule the day. When Stillpoint is up and running, it will go unnoticed by almost all of us, and for those who do use it, it will be a great gift.