Sports will soon replace snow at Shady Rest Park, but will AYSO replace the Women’s Club in running the Snack Shack? (Photo: Kirkner)
Recreation Commission works to set policy on who should operate Shady Rest shack
Since 2003 the Mammoth Lakes’ Women’s Club has been operating the Shack during the summer baseball and soccer months. They took over eight years ago when AYSO asked them to operate the food hut. Today, AYSO wants those operation rights back.
Currently there is no policy dictating how the Town-owned shack should be run. Until now, operations have been performed on handshake deals. However, with two groups vying for operation rights, the Town’s Recreation Commission has been tasked with setting a formal policy for running the shop.
On April 5 at the regular Recreation Commission meeting, commissioners set about accomplishing this task.
“We are not determining today who will run the shack, we are just trying to come up with a policy,” explained Commission Chair Bill Sauser. Still, the commission heard from both groups that wish to operate the shack.
Women’s Club President Sharon Harvey explained that the revenue from the shack is the club’s main source of fundraising for the year. The goal of the Women’s Club is to raise money and donate it to different organizations in town. So the wealth is spread around.
After taking over the soccer events in 2003, the Women’s Club was then asked by the Town in 2006 to provide food for the Little League Baseball team events as well, which the Club agreed to do, even though, according to Harvey, baseball runs at little to no profit.
“Not only do we provide food for the kids, but we also make them ask for their food politely and we make them figure out how much change they are due when they pay,” explained Debby Christiana Bailey, a member of the Women’s Club.
Dan O’Connell, representing AYSO, attended the meeting to make the case for the soccer teams.
“There were 450 kids in AYSO last year,” O’Connell explained. “It’s our families that are paying, so it’s a no brainer to have AYSO running the snack shop.”
O’Connell felt that each organization running events at Shady Rest Park should have the option to operate the snack shack; a “right of first refusal” if you will.
One of the Commission’s concerns was whether or not AYSO would stick with the operations or take over for one year and then lose interest in running the shack next year, leaving the Town without a group to operate the shop since they would have kicked the Women’s Club out.
“In all fairness though, the Women’s Club may not want to run it forever either,” said Heidi Presson, also representing AYSO.
“We have a very motivated Board right now,” O’Connell explained, “and we need the money, especially for the Hispanic kids [which make up a large portion of AYSO’s numbers].”
Nancy Liebersbach, however, warned AYSO that they know not what they were asking when requesting to take over the shack. Liebersbach and her husband were some of the first people involved in running the shack and always found parents with enough time to help out in short supply, leaving Nancy to work the shack for 12 hours a day, every weekend.
“It wasn’t a good profit and it was too much trouble,” she said. Liebersbach added that the Hispanic population is not cash poor and doesn’t “need the help we’re talking about.”
The Commission determined that it would be best to delegate a committee that would include members of both parties that are requesting to operate the shack, as well as two commissioners. Commissioners Teri Stehlik and Sean Turner volunteered to sit on the committee. The group will attempt to determine the best policy during the next month and bring it back to the Commission at its May 3 meeting.
A representative from Little League assured everyone that their group had no interest in running the snack shack.
“You can have it,” she said.