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April 07, 2004

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Publication Date: Wednesday, April 07, 2004

LETTERS LETTERS (April 07, 2004)

Improved tennis courts promote exercise


The national Center for Disease Control estimates that 400,000 deaths were related to overeating and physical inactivity in 2000 and obesity will surpass smoking as the leading cause of death by 2005, according to reports published in March.

This is only one of the many reasons I presented for resurfacing the tennis courts at the recent joint meeting of the Atherton Town Council and Atherton Park and Recreation Commission.

Other supporting evidence includes:

The town wants and needs the courts. According to the recent Park and Recreation Dept. survey, 26 percent of Atherton households use the courts.

Additionally, interest is expected to grow 30 percent by 2010 due to a nationwide campaign designed to encourage new players. Interest in tennis is growing as indicated by tennis ball sales (up 9 percent) and racquet sales (up 12 percent) in 2000.

Tennis court key sales cover current and future costs. The courts brought about $7,000 a year profit for the town, exceeding maintenance expenses by almost $250,000 that went into the town's general fund, paying for police and capital improvements on roads.

Resurfaced courts will bring more money (about $10,000 a year) to a town with few sources of income.

The Town Council continues to vacillate between approving and vetoing the expenditure over the past two years. Ironically, they've even spent thousands of dollars for the new court design and a soils test in the last two years.

I was asked by Mayor Kathy McKeithen where the money would come from. Currently the town has monies in reserve that earn interest of about 3 to 4 percent a year. Should the town invest in the courts, the interest earned will be at least 4 percent but more likely will earn 7.5 percent, bringing over $10,000 a year profit.

With obesity at alarming levels and the current financial crisis faced by Atherton, a win-win would be to finally approve resurfacing of the courts. It would bring an avenue of physical activity and more money to a town in need.

Cat Westover
Atherton Parks and
Recreation Commissioner

Remove bulge-out at Avy Avenue


The only thing I can figure is that the person who designed the bulge-out at Avy Avenue at the Alameda de las Pulgas in west Menlo Park went to the same genius school as did whoever gave us Santa Cruz Avenue, which had to be redesigned.

I almost hit a car while turning south from Avy that was a bit over the double line that marks the left turn lane from northbound Alameda to westbound Avy. I forgot to make an "emergency" type skid turn.

All one has to do to recognize the problem is look at the tire marks on the bulge-out.

Remove it!

Daniel H. Goodman
Trinity Drive, Menlo Park

Trees add quality that sets Menlo Park apart


The heritage tree ordinance, as it is now written, protects the community and the unique qualities that make Menlo Park so desirable.

In it's current form, the ordinance is ensuring the replacement of a heritage Italian Stone Pine that sadly had to be removed due to alleged safety issues. And even with the current ordinance, which requires 30-day replacement of the previous tree, we're still negotiating with the neighbors four months after the fact to get these trees replaced.

The city should be looking at stronger accountability on tree removal and replacement.

Wendy Carmody
Cathy Place, Menlo Park

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