Community center rates set

Gary B. Gray • Jun 8, 2012 at 9:41 PM

Fees and charges for fiscal year 2013 have been approved for the new Memorial Park Community Center, as have other rates for the city’s recreation programs, golf and indoor and outdoor facilities.

In sum, fees for activities at the new center are below the norm, and the list of opportunities for the public are many. Meanwhile, some fees for park pavilion rentals, ball field use, team sports and special events are going up, though these increases are minimal.

The City Commission unanimously approved the rates Thursday, and they go into effect July 1.

“A monthly premium pass at Memorial Park includes reduced rates on recreation programs and full use of amenities that include open swim, lap swim, fitness room, tennis, gym open run, billiards, activity room and tot watch (child care),” said Roger Blakeley, Parks and Recreation Department director.

It should be noted: this is a public facility. It does include a senior component, and people may have to check on availability. But when the center opens, which is now expected to be sometime in late July, it will truly be open.

“I can tell you right now, you can do everything here,” Blakeley said. “The real interesting thing is we’re putting seniors with everyone else. We’ve developed a bridge.”

Monthly passes range from $35 for resident students and seniors to $60 for a non-resident family pass, so the doors won’t shut on a visitor from Cincinnati in town on a trip.

Folks also can pick and choose their activities, which include monthly and daily passes. These are available for those wanting to swim in the lap pool, hit the fitness room or play billiards. Aerobics classes also are offered on a monthly or daily rate. The daily rate, for example, is $2. A monthly pass to the fitness room for students and those over 50 is $10. That’s about 30 cents a day.

The new center will allow all Johnson City Seniors’ Center participants who paid for an annual pass for the existing center’s fitness room in January to use the new fitness room through the remainder of this year.

The gymnasium, when completely open, compares to a good size university facility. Want to have a pick-up basketball game? The hourly rate for a court is $75. That’s $7.50 a player considering two, five-person teams.

If basketball’s not your thing, Parks and Recreation will close off a portion of the gym and set up as many as 240 chairs for a family gathering or other get-togethers. Tennis courts are just outside, and reservations can be made for as little as $10. Should your interests lean more to the indoors or the arts, people can rent the media center, meetings rooms and the performing arts room.

“Our entire city population should be very proud of this center,” said James Ellis, Parks and Recreation assistant director. “It’s phenomenal. The billiard tables and exercise equipment is state-of-the-art.”

Meanwhile, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Seniors Advisory Board and Golf Advisory Board each have recommended some fee increases that were approved Thursday. Blakeley said recreation fees are not intended to offset or cover the cost of providing traditional services to city taxpayers but are meant to offset a portion of the cost of providing specific activities, programs or facilities of special interest, limited participation, space availability and high demand.

Most fees at Freedom Hall and the Legion Recreation Center have stayed the same. Visitors to outdoor facilities, including most pavilions at city parks will see increases in half- and full-day charges. For example, at the Harris Pavilion at Rotary Park, the half-day rate for residents will be increased from $40 to $65; the full-day rate from $70 to $95.

Some pavilions at Winged Deer Park, Metro-Kiwanis, Civitan and Carver will see $10 to $30 increases. This will be the first fees charged at Civitan Park, which had operated on a first-come first-serve basis.

Rates at Liberty Bell Tennis Center will not increase. However, there has been a new price tag of $10 per hour per court put in place.

“People were wanting an hourly fee,” Ellis said. “This way, if you want to come for a short time, you’ll have an opportunity to do that.”

There are no changes in store for Kermit Tipton Stadium, Cardinal Park, Legion Pool or equipment rentals, but a few increases are coming for special recreation programs, such as softball leagues, Discovery Park and weddings.

Co-ed softball teams will now pay $250 per team for recreation league play. Blakeley said the $50 increase comes from a request for more games by adult teams. The city also was beginning to have a bit of a problem with late registration with youth sports programs, such as soccer, softball, basketball, Tee-ball and tennis.

“Our youth athletic programs are huge,” Ellis said. “We get between 1,700 and 1,800 kids involved, and there’s lots of volunteers. We advertise a final registration date, but a few years ago we started seeing more and more late registration. It becomes a problem, especially for sponsors who all of a sudden have to find the money for three more jerseys.”

To help with this situation, a $20 team fee will go into effect for those wanting to join on after the final announced registration date.

Green and cart fees at Pine Oaks and Buffalo Valley Golf Courses are set to increase by $1 a day. The green fees will be $12; cart fees $15. If only nine holes is played, a $7.50 charge will apply — a 50-cent increase.

“I’m very proud of what we do,” said Jim Hughes, director of golf. “In 1999, our rack rate (combined rate for green and cart fee) was $27 a day. Currently, the daily rack rate is $22. The weekend rate is $27.”

Hughes said membership fees for non-residents will go up effective Jan. 1, including a $25 increase for a regular annual pass, a 10-percent increase for private cart usage and a $20 increase for frequent user passes.

Blakeley said the minimal rate increase will help the department reinvest.

“We have nine people to do two golf courses, and I believe we’re producing a great product.”

A complete fee and charges schedule will be available online beginning July 1 at the city’s website, www.johnsoncitytn.org. On this page, click on “Departments” then “Parks and Recreation.” For more information, call 283-5815.

Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos