Almanac

News - January 19, 2011

Menlo Park plans to renew Team Sheeper pool contract

by Sandy Brundage

Team Sheeper will continue to operate the Burgess pool, and add the Belle Haven pool to its roster, under a revised contract that may head to the Menlo Park council for approval next month once the city attorney completes his review.

Team Sheeper would pay $3,000 a month for the Burgess pools, a $6.8-million public facility, and operate the Belle Haven pools for at least three months a year. According to Community Services Director Cherise Brandell's analysis, that would save the city approximately $90,000 a year.

The 10-year contract also spells out how much access a competing swim club, SOLO Aquatics, will have to both facilities. The club clashed with Team Sheeper during the past three years over practice times and publicity.

Now, if the City Council approves the new contract on Feb. 15 as planned, SOLO should have a regular late afternoon practice time during the week at a discounted rate of $6 per hour. They should also get an equal share of bulletin board space to advertise their programs.

SOLO didn't get everything it wanted — Ms. Brandell's memo states that Team Sheeper won't have to eliminate any program that competes directly with SOLO, or give the other club space for private lessons.

The city also appears to be addressing other concerns raised by the community, namely, improved communications and oversight. Team Sheeper will need to prepare an annual report for the Parks and Recreation Commission that includes a breakdown of fees and pool time allocations, and also share costs with the city for a semi-annual inspection by an external expert.

Representatives for Team Sheeper and SOLO Aquatics were not yet available for comment.

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