While it is clear that we need expanded pool access, the current proposal - private outsourcing, with monthly "membership" and formal triathlon-based training programs for non-Palo Alto residents - is NOT the way to do it.
This week, the Parks and Recreation Commission agreed to move forward, slowly, with a Sheeper-run "Learn-to-Swim" program and not dismantle our current schedule. We commend their caution.
Why? As the city's own Community Services Department report concludes, "Additional aquatics programming will result in the need for more sharing of the pool between different interest groups."
Currently, lap swimmers and Masters Program swimmers have their separate time slots. Under Sheeper's proposal, this time would be shared.
(His Palo Alto proposal is already well underway at Menlo Park's Burgess Pool, which is perpetually crowded for anyone outside the Sheeper program.)
Lap swimmers of disparate abilities - octogenarians, recovering runners, pregnant moms and casual recreational paddlers - would be crammed into fewer lanes. So would the Masters swimmers, who train for events such as crossing the English Channel.
It would wreak havoc, adding one more stress in this increasingly stressful valley.
Please retain pool access for Palo Alto residents, who have already built and paid for this wonderful public resource - and limit access by the for-profit Team Sheeper program.