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Rec center rate change approved

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Extra-dependent fee dropped as part of 5-percent increase in overall rate

By Ben Wiebesiek

FORT LUPTON — A new rate structure is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1 at the Fort Lupton Recreation Center.
    The changes were designed to help the recreation center raise money for repairs and replacements of aging equipment and machinery at the nearly 10-year-old facility at 203 S. Harrison Ave.

    But Fort Lupton Parks and Recreation Director Monty Schuman said although the rate changes were designed to help raise money for the rec center, not all rates would go up, and in many cases residents would find lower prices for some of the services they use.
    “We’re dropping the fee for extra dependents,” Schuman said. “A lot of people didn’t buy passes before because it was limited to two dependents. Now, no matter how many kids are living there, as long as they’re legal dependents, they’re included on the family pass.”
    Shuman said the rec center also is adding a military discount, which the center didn’t offer previously.
    “That is for active or non-active members of the armed services,” Schuman said. “So they will get the same rate as seniors.”
    The senior rate (for residents 60 and older)    remains $150 for an annual pass. The annual pass at the adult rate (residents ages 19 to 59) will increase at the end of the year from $255 to $267.75, a 5-percent increase.
    City staff originally recommended a 10-percent increase on select fees to raise $14,000 in revenues in 2014, but Councilwoman Shannon Rhoda moved to change the increase to 5 percent, and the measure passed unanimously Oct. 7.
    The staff recommendations were based on research on rates at neighboring community recreation centers, such as the facilities in Brighton and Carbon Valley.
    “It really was a matter of staying in the middle, market-wise,” Schuman said. “Our passes are pretty darn good deals, if you look at the recreation centers around the area.”
    The recreation center will also begin offering free childcare to all adult, couple and family pass holders during regular scheduled child care hours.
    Council also approved changes to rental fee structure for weekend bookings at the conference rooms at the rec center. Staff proposed keeping the rental rates the same on weekdays, with a transition to a four-hour “block rental” system for weekend rentals.
    In the proposal to council, staff said the four-hour blocks would help ensure groups have adequate time for set up and takedowns and will maximize rental income for the center as well.
    “It will help eliminate the groups that want to rent the facility for one hour from 2 to 3 p.m. on a weekend eliminating the ability to rent the facility out to a larger function,” the proposal stated. “We feel this change will help provide a better overall experience for the renter giving them plenty of time.”
    A four-hour rental of the one of the large multi-purpose is $200 on Saturday or Sunday, or $280 if a party plans on providing alcohol during the event.
    Schuman said that demand for recreation center services has gone up.
    “We have seen an uptick,” Schuman said. “This year is on-pace to be our best year. Demand has been increasing each year with more and more usage.”
    But the downside of the Recreation Center’s popularity has been an increase in facility expenses.
    “We’ve had a lot of our fixed costs go up,” Schuman said. “As an older building ages, our infrastructure is starting to take more money.”
    HVAC expenses associated with heating and cooling the facility have grown through the years as equipment breaks down and replacement parts become discontinued or special-order items.
    “A rec center is a pretty unique place in terms of HVAC equipment,” Schuman said. “The pool environment is almost it own system. You’ve got to keep that all separate from other areas of the building.”
    There has also been an uptick in rental requests for city’s baseball complex at Pearson Park. The changes approved by council allow the parks and recreation department to rent out individual baseball fields as opposed to the previous system that required groups to reserve the whole facility.
    “As the demands of the fields have increased, requests from groups have continued to rise,” the proposal to council stated. “This would allow for multiple groups to utilize the fields and would better capture the costs of maintaining the facility. With the rising material cost it is important to cover expenses without pricing the park out of reason. These events do bring in additional monies from sales tax and help the local business community as teams buy food, gas, and other items during the time they are here.”
    Currently, a half day rental of the baseball complex is $55 for five hours, $100 for day use from 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., and $75 for night use between 6 and 11 p.m.
When the new rates go into effect in 2014, the rate structure will be simplified with a single $50 per field rate for day use, and if lights are used, an additional $40 per field.
    Schuman said the new fee structure would be included in the upcoming recreation center brochure.
    “Council was great, they were very supportive. We were able to hash most of this out in the quality of life committee that met back in May. We went over the information and came with recommendations,” Schuman said. “Hopefully everybody understands that we feel its a fair increase. We’re not trying to make gobs of money; this is just to help offset some of the higher costs we’re getting.”

Contact Ben Wiebesiek at 303-659-2522, ext. 205, or email wiebesiek@metrowestnewspapers.com.