Candidate Q & A: Matthew Martin, Recreation and Parks Commission

The following represents the candidate’s responses to the Current’s Park and Rec-specific questions. Jump back to Election Guide

Years in Marblehead: 46 years

Occupation/education: Some college, National Grand Bank of Marblehead business development officer

Appointed positions and/or elected offices: Recreation and Parks commissioner since 2018, Marblheead Chamber of Commerce and Marblehead Youth Football board of directors

What should be the Rec and Parks Commission’s top five goals in the years ahead? My goal every year is to work as a team with the other commissioners to oversee the management of the town’s parks, playing fields and many recreation programs. I wouldn’t want to place any one item above the rest. I believe working as a team the Commission should look at the town as a whole circumventing a short list of projects to control at one time.

The commission has been accused of not being responsive enough recently, particularly to the hundreds of pickle ballers in town. What’s your reaction to that? What would you do to increase the commission’s responsiveness? The rapid growth and popularity of pickleball has put a strain on the limited court space in Marblehead. Competing directly with tennis and being sympathetic to neighbors’ concerns of noise has been challenging. The additional courts opened last year at Seaside Park have relieved some, but not all the noise burden on our Vine Street neighbors. As the sport progresses, I think we will see noise reduction balls and paddles being made at an affordable cost to the players. The Commission has been responsive to the competing interests of the pickleball players and the neighbors abutting the courts.

Now that Town Meeting passed an article urging town boards and commissions to be more accessible and transparent, do you support holding hybrid meetings? Hybrid access to all town committee and board meetings is the goal, as the Article 44 study committee reported at this year town meeting, If a room at the Jacobi Community Center is outfitted with hybrid technology (approximately $6,000), greater scheduling flexibility would result for town committees, boards and commissions, including the 10 identified in Article 52. However, lack of consistent availability of Recreation and Parks evening staff makes the scheduling of hybrid open meetings there impractical. Adding hybrid technology to a building with unpredictable evening staffing is a debatable investment of town funds.

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