Editorial: Winter diversions

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 3:00pm

Block Island resident Judith Fucci posted a simple question on Facebook the other day: “Hey Block Island.. Mental wellness?..How ‘bout a gym.. swimming pool?.. A Y?.. Somewhere to hang out that is not a bar?” Within a short period of time, she received 155 “likes” and dozens of comments. What prompted the posting, Fucci told The Block Island Times, was a “rainy day without many options…Bowling, swimming, roller skating, movies, racquetball… Or even a café-type place to sit and read (or do) crafts.” She added, “Combined with the ever-popular topic of mental illness. Give the masses activities.”

The comments provided some of the activities people would like to see on Block Island:

The idea of a swimming pool was the most popular. “A pool has been my dream for years. I already have the design in my head,” said one.

A community arts center came up more than once. “Yes, I agree,” wrote another islander. “There needs to be more things for people to do like a community art studio or community wood shop or a pool or a gym.” Another wrote, “My ultimate dream would be for a cooperative artist space for classes and teach-ins, as well as communal equipment use — lasers, pottery kilns, glass-blowing, etc.”

Martha Ball mentioned there was once a bowling alley on the island.

Another wrote, “Spinning, cross-training classes and more! Not as much capital investment as a gym…and just need studio space and instructor.”

Still another idea: “A small (100 seat) theatre where there could be readings, movies.”

But there was some skepticism. One poster said she would like to support the idea of a pool, “but the town can’t maintain what they have,” a statement that others agreed with.

This is an important discussion because we have heard that there are very few young people out on the island this winter, and there is little or no work. In light of that, the question of what Block Island would like to be, both for its visitors and the year-round residents, is no longer an idle one. We know that there are ideas out there, and we know that there are people trying to put these ideas into action.

By highlighting this vital discussion that took place on Facebook, we hope to jumpstart a more public discussion about what can be done.

Keep the conversation going at blockislandtimes.com.