Tuesday, September 02, 2014

ORC sets pricing for daily admission, pass cards

By CLINTON DICK, Herald Staff Writer | 12/2/2013

Recreation enthusiasts are expected to have two options in January when a new admission fee is enacted at the Ottawa Community Recreation Center/Goppert Building: a daily charge or pass card good for multiple days.

“We tried to stay as reasonable as we could and as fair as we could,” Tommy Sink, director of the ORC, which manages the Goppert Building, 705 W, 15th St., Ottawa, said. “Again, we didn’t want to do this.”

Less than a month after approving an admission fee for the community’s chief recreation facility, the ORC released finalized pricing for admission, effective Jan. 1, 2014. The Goppert Building has been free to users since its September 2011 opening. Daily admission fees are set at $2 for ages 12-59; $1 for ages 6-11 and 60 and older; and free admission for those 5 and younger.

The pass card prices, which were released Monday, are $52.50 for 30 adult passes ($1.75 per visit) and $135 for 90 passes, ($1.50 per visit). Pass card prices for children and seniors are $22.50 for 30 passes ($0.75 per visit) and $45 for 90 passes ($0.50 per visit).

“We surveyed the surrounding area in Eastern Kansas ... to kind of see what their philosophy was,” Sink said. “Actually we are probably a little cheaper than our counterparts are.”

The new admission costs are for use of the Goppert Building and do not pertain to individual ORC programs, such as baseball or soccer, many of which have their own participation fees.

ORC’s Nov. 13 decision to enact a fee at the popular recreation spot near Ottawa Middle School, 1230 S. Ash St., and Ottawa High School, 1120 S. Ash St., has not come without controversy. Sink said he knew many community members would be unhappy with the change.

“I’ve had some short conversations outside of the office,” he said. “There has been some negative comments about it, and we anticipated that. There has also been some positive feedback.”

The newly announced pass cards for the recreation center are not yet available, Sink said Monday, but eventually will be sold at the Goppert Building.

“They will be available in the very near future ... within the next few days,” he said. “Definitely before Jan. 1.”

While the ORC has not planned a formal public hearing about the new admission fees — a move the ORC is not required to undertake, Sink said — the recreation commission’s board meetings allow public discussion during a specific period at meetings. According to the Nov. 13 meeting agenda, those who wish to address the board at meetings must notify ORC staff who are present before the meeting; and speaking time may be limited to three minutes per person.

The next ORC board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Goppert Building.

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