Archive for Tuesday, June 9, 2009

City looks at stiffer fees, fines

Nature Center, wading pool may charge admission starting next year

June 9, 2009

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City leaders plot indoor recreation facility

Lawrence citizens may have a new place to play on the west side of town. Enlarge video

Parks and rec center

City Manager David Corliss wants planning to begin for a new West Lawrence recreation center at Congressional and Overland drives.

Corliss proposes $300,000 be spent in 2010 for planning and design for a center that could be built on 40 acres the city owns just north of the new Wal-Mart store.

“It is an area that is underserved,” Corliss told city commissioners during a study session Monday.

The city does not have a general purpose recreation center west of Kasold Drive. The new center, as proposed, would be near the city’s Indoor Aquatic Center at Free State High School.

Commissioners stopped short of endorsing the idea, but said they wanted to hear more.

Corliss said the city potentially could have money to pay for the center after bonds for the Indoor Aquatic Center are paid off in 2012. Corliss said he also would propose moving the city’s parks and recreation offices to the center, which would allow the city to no longer lease space for the offices at 947 N.H.

“But we know we have to proceed cautiously,” Corliss said. “We understand we’ll not only have to have money to build it, but also to operate it.”

City plans parks and rec rate hikes

Several parks and recreation programs could soon see rate hikes. Enlarge video

Users of the city’s Prairie Park Nature Center and the South Park Wading Pool likely will be asked to help the city’s budget a dollar at a time.

City leaders on Tuesday released the details of a proposal to raise fees for several parks and recreation programs. The city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board unanimously recommended the creation of two new fees. They are:

• A $1 fee for adults to enter the Prairie Park Nature Center. Children 5 to 12 years old would be charged 50 cents. Children 4 and under would be free with a paid adult admission. The department also would offer a $40 annual family pass. The fees are expected to generate about $10,000 per year.

• A $1 fee for children to use the South Park Wading Pool. Adults would be admitted for free. The fee is expected to generate about $2,000 per year.

“We hope this is a continuation of what we’ve tried to do for years and years, which is cover some of our expenses but not make it too much of a burden on the public,” Ernie Shaw, interim director of parks and recreation, told the board.

Shaw said city leaders were backing away from several other fee ideas that they had previously considered. He said because of the poor economy, he’s recommending against increasing fees to the indoor and outdoor aquatic centers in 2010.

He said he will also recommend against charging a fee to use the weight and cardio rooms at the city’s recreation centers. He said installing a key card system to allow the city to charge for use was going to cost more than the fees would probably generate.

But the department will likely begin selling advertising space at many of its ballparks and recreation facilities, city leaders said.

“We’ll take an active look at sponsorship,” City Manager David Corliss said. “I don’t know that we need lifeguards with advertising on them, but we’ll look at other things we can do.”

Shaw said possibilities included advertising on fences at ballparks and playing fields, and maybe even a logo painted on the bottom of the city’s swimming pools.

The city may also seek a title sponsor for the City Band concerts held in South Park. Currently, the city provides about $12,000 per year to the band. Shaw said another possibility was to set up a donation box for the concerts.

“We have 1,500 to 2,000 people there for most concerts,” Shaw said. “I can’t believe most of them wouldn’t throw a dollar in a hat.”

The advisory board also unanimously recommended previously announced fee increases for the city-owned Eagle Bend Golf Course. The new fees would increase weekend rates from $23 to $25 for 18 holes and from $15 to $17 for nine holes. Weekday rates would not change. Cart fees, though, would increase by $1 for all days.

The new golf fees would start July 3. The fees for Prairie Park and the wading pool would not begin until 2010.

City commissioners will have the final say on the fees as part of the 2010 budget process, which is expected to be completed by early August.

Comments

KansasPerson 5 years, 10 months ago

I wouldn't mind throwing some money in a donation box at a Lawrence City Band Concert.

But for some reason, the idea of an advertising logo being painted at the bottom of the city pool just makes me ill.

And I'm not too happy about the idea of charging toddlers for access to the South Park wading pool. I personally know parents who take their children there to cool off because they cannot afford the "big" pool. I know "it's just a dollar" but they are just little tiny babies! Sheesh!

On the other hand, I don't mind charging for the Nature Center too much.

So, bottom line is, I'm inconsistent today.

mom_of_three 5 years, 10 months ago

I also wonder if it would cost more money to have someone take care of the money, and the paperwork then it would actually bring in.
But hopefully, no one at the wading pool would be turned away due to lack or inability of payment.

Jaylee 5 years, 10 months ago

HAVING TO PAY FOR NATURE IS WRONG!!!!!

if I could make my font the size of the page for this, I would!

HAVING TO PAY FOR NATURE IS WRONG!!!

I have a Clinton Lake State Park pass, because there are not many places to go for a nature-lover.

I hike.

I photograph.

I write music and lyrics about things that happen.

I collect, identify, and generally procure for consumption wild mushrooms and some simple herbs and plants, at the already existing cost of tick bites and close encounters with Black Widows and Copperheads.

I cannot STAND having to pay to enjoy such simple, pre-existing pleasures!

HAVE TO PAY FOR NATURE IS WRONG!!!

I have some cool photos I wish I could post of Clinton Lake Ramblings

nuby 5 years, 10 months ago

Is Corliss for real? He wants to build a rec center in west Lawrence because it is underserved. Of course it is all about catering to the wealthy in west Lawrence. Dave, try concentrating on taking care of the facilities we have. The article is about raising fees because the city has no money but they want to build a new rec center. I'm moving.

CLARKKENT 5 years, 10 months ago

GO AHEAD AND RAISE FEE'S. THAT WAY CAN MATCH LAST TAX INCREASE, AND FURTHER JUSTIFY GOING TO OTHER CITIES.

PRETTY SOON, ALL WE WILL HAVE LEFT IS CORELESS AND THE REST OF CITY HALL, THEN THEY CAN ENJOY IT ALL.

tearanydawn 5 years, 10 months ago

I really like taking my son to the wading park and will continue to go there even though they have a dollar fee. But I do wonder if they will now have to staff another person there so that one can lifeguard, while another collects the money of people entering. If they do staff another person are they really going to make all that much in fees?

Kyle Reed 5 years, 10 months ago

Uh...Jaylee? You do realize that Clinton Lake, which you seem to enjoy greatly, is manmade. Right?

SouthernBelle 5 years, 10 months ago

I do so enjoy reading ljworld online. Makes me pat myself on the back over and over again for moving the H. E. double hockey sticks out of Lawrence.

Keith 5 years, 10 months ago

I see plenty about new or higher fees, but nothing about fines. Did the commission decide about higher parking and speeding fines?

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