Athletic, entrance fees put on hold
Athletic teams no longer have to pay a fee to use county parks. By a unanimous vote at their Monday, Feb. 6 meeting, county commissioners indefinitely suspended all seasonal athletic permits for county parks. Additionally, all bicycle, bus, pedestrian, van and vehicle permits were suspended for Fred Kirby and Jesse Helms parks.
The decision came after a request from Parks and Recreation Director Bill Whitley, who pointed out that organizations were no longer using county facilities, due to the fees.
“During a recent Union County Soccer League meeting,the governing body voted not to use the facility (at Jesse Helms Park),” Whitley said, adding that the group gave two reasons; the location of the facility and the fees associated with it. “We know we can’t move the facility, it is where it is. The only one we can do anything about is entrance fees.”
Entrance fees were created to help ensure safety, Whitley said. As parks officials collected the fee, they could keep track of who came and went into the facility. They were also created as a way for the county to increase revenue, Whitley said.
County commission vice chair Todd Johnson, who serves as liaison to the Parks and Recreation Committee, pointed out that the county has collected less than $2,000 over the last year from fees, much less than what one organization would have rented the facility for. He also questioned how the fees were collected.
“I know at Fred Kirby (Park), it’s an honor system, so we’re deterring (potential renters), and we’re only collecting fees on an honor system,” Johnson said.
No changes were discussed or fees proposed for Cane Creek Park.
“It is the advisory committee’s and staff’s hope that suspending entrance fees will encourage customer use of both Fred Kirby and Jesse Helms parks,” Whitley said.