Atherton residents who want to buy keys to use the Holbrook-Palmer tennis courts will now pay only $50 per year instead of the $150 that had been charged. Non-residents, however, will continue to pay $200 per year to use the courts.
"We're wanting to have more people to come to the park," said council member Elizabeth Lewis, calling the courts "under-utilized." Council member Bill Widmer agreed. "I'd like to see the fee as low as possible," he said during the council's Jan. 15 meeting, when it voted on the new fee.
The $50 was a compromise between what the Parks and Recreation Commission had suggested, an $100 annual fee, and what Public Works Superintendent Steve Tyler had suggested at the council's urging, a $25 annual fee.
A $27,500 contribution that will be made by the Menlo-Atherton Little League toward the tennis court maintenance should help the town pay for the care of the courts even if revenues fall with the lower fees. Mr. Tyler reported that the cost of maintaining the courts averages about $10,000 a year when long-term maintenance is factored in.
The council also voted to end the exclusive contract with Alan Margot to teach classes on the Holbrook-Palmer courts. Instead the council gave Mr. Margot a six-month contract to teach tennis clinics in the park and will see if other local tennis teachers want to bid for the contract when the six months are up.
The vote by the council was unanimous, one of the few items of the evening that all the council members could agree on.