In an unusual move, Mayor Jen Wolosin is bringing Team Sheeper’s new contract to operate the public swimming pools at Burgess Park and the Menlo Park Community Campus back before the Menlo Park City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 26.
Team Sheeper’s current contract expires on Sept. 30. At its Sept. 12 meeting, the council approved a new five-year contract with Team Sheeper to continue operating Burgess Pool and take over operations at the new Menlo Park Community Campus (MPCC) pools. The contract included a change, made at the request of competing bidder Solo Aquatics. The contract was approved in a 3-2 vote with Vice Mayor Cecilia Taylor and Council member Betsy Nash dissenting.
Mayor Jen Wolosin, who voted for the contract, requested that it be reconsidered by the council, saying in her weekly email that she has felt uneasy since the Spt. 12 meeting and has “some regret” due to the contract's different requirements for Burgess Pool, located near downtown Menlo Park, and MPCC pools, located in the Belle Haven neighborhood east of U.S. Highway 101.
A contingent from Solo Aquatics, which runs swimming programs, voiced concerns about Team Sheeper's contract at the Sept. 12 council meeting, and asked that Solo’s use of Burgess Pool, which has long been part of previous pool contracts, be added as a way to ensure its access can't be withdrawn without city approval.
The Belle Haven neighborhood has a history of segregation and redlining and still faces related issues, Wolosin wrote. The neighborhood has the worst air quality in Menlo Park and the highest rate of asthma among residents, three times higher than that of other neighborhoods in the city, she said.
“It was moving at the September 12th meeting to hear from so many Solo families about how much they love the program,” Wolosin wrote. “This is especially important due to the horrible history of racial segregation and pools in our country.”