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A swimming success?

Original post made on Sep 30, 2009

Three years after Menlo Park's controversial decision to let a private operator run its public pool, Menlo Swim and Sport is winning over swimmers -- and expanding the notion of what a community pool can be

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 16, 2009, 11:34 AM

Comments (7)

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Posted by Joyce
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Sep 30, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Burgess Poll has been a pillar of our family for years. Now THE ENTIRE family is now able to enjoy the pool !! Babies to grandparents are able to exercise and enjoy the friendly environment and staff.

We are so grateful to Tim Sheeper for bringing our community back together !!!

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Posted by swimmer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 30, 2009 at 4:39 pm

We are so grateful for Tim Sheeper too! He is making so much money thanks to the beautiful facility the city gave him that he can pay rent! Looking forward to it, though I do love to read all the fan mail on this forum. Must be some heavy koolaid in that water!

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 1, 2009 at 12:43 pm

As a somewhat regular user of the Burgess Pool facilities, there are pros and cons to the way the pool is managed. But to call it a success, without even evaluating the negatives is puff journalism.

First of all, Burgess is no longer a public pool. It is a fee based private pool with extremely limited public access. The water surface space almost doubled in the renovations, yet the available pool space and time for open recreation (i.e., non-lap swimming) was significantly reduced. This is because classes and swim team programs are the top priority of Menlo Swim. In the middle of summer, the amount of room and time available to open swim is comically low, and not representative of a "public" pool.

Secondly, you cannot say reviews have been positive when you look at survey results provided to you by Mr. Sheeper. Most of the negative reviews come from people disenfranchised with the Burgess situation who are no longer users, or those who do use the facility but do not bother with Menlo Swim's surveys.

I have 2 children in classes at Burgess, and have been more than satisfied with both the availability and quality of classes offered. But we haven't been to an open swim there in months because of the limited availability.

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Posted by The Bottom Line
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 1, 2009 at 9:32 pm

"First of all, Burgess is no longer a public pool."

That sums it up in a nutshell why Sheeper has to go.

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Posted by Former MP resident
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2009 at 1:03 pm

For those of you who long for the old days of public pool offerings - just look to Rinconada pool for how it works in the current day. Note that once the summer season is over, there are no family swim hours whatsoever. Warm weekend towards the end of October? family swim. Early spring fever? No family swim. Why? No money, honey.

In the off-season, Rinconada is rented out in the afternoons and early evenings to the PASA swim club. There is also a masters swim program during the day --- but there is no family swim time...because it is a huge money loser in the off-season.

Under the current economic status that most city governments are facing - to have a city owned pool virtually pay for itself is the best scenario that can be hoped for. You have that with Burgess right now - why mess with that positive economic situation?

I don't swim at Burgess nor am I member or client of any of Sheeper's programs. But from the outside looking in - I think there are too many people looking the "gift horse in the mouth".

If MP was flush with money and could afford to take on the huge operating costs of running (i.e., heating and maintaining) a pool on a year-round basis, then go for it. But the reality is that is not the case and people should realize that the current circumstance is far better than the alternative.

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Posted by Former MP resident
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2009 at 1:10 pm

And I might add, not only are there no weekend family swims in the off-season, there are no family swim hours during the week as well!

Family or open swim programs produce far less in contributions to offsetting operation costs than the paid instructional or coached programs. The bottom line is that if MP didn't have all of the robust programs currently operating at Burgess, the current schedule for family swims would not exist. Instead you'd go back to the old days of adult lap swimming from 11:30-1:00 on weekdays and no other swimming activities whatsoever in the off-season.

Is that what you really want?

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Posted by Former MP resident
a resident of another community
on Oct 6, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Sorry for the multiple posts. But the above reference to no family swims on weekdays and weekends in the off-season is to the Rinconada program, not MP.

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