OLEAN – The City Council has reduced the fees for several of its recreation programs, including for use of its renovated stadium.
“We have this newly renovated stadium, it would be a shame if it sat unused,” Mayor William Aiello said. “We want to have people using our services and using our resources. If we are going to do that, we need to make them more affordable.”
Bradner Stadium, the newly renovated facility, carried a user fee of $100 to have a game there, $150 to use the lights. That amount was lowered to $50 per game, $70 to use the lights. Since the facility is still without locker rooms, teams will still be able to use the facilities across East State Street, at the William O. Smith Recreation Center. Those will now be free of charge, as long as the center is open. There will be a $50 fee for their usage if the center is not open. Most events that use the stadium will need the field lined. If it is a full season sport, it will carry a $200 per season cost.
Gargoyle Park, on the City’s East side, now will have a lower fee as well, Aiello said.
“I have been approached by families that want to use the facility, but are not willing to pay the $500 fee for a family event,” he said. “Weddings in the park are the same way.”
To remedy that situation, families and wedding parties will only have to pay half of the usage rate, making those special event days only $250.
Other areas to see reduction are staffing of the Smith Recreation Center during closed times. Previously, to have two people on staff during the day would cost the user $50 an hour. During evening hours, that would go to $100 an hour. Under the new structure, those rates have been brought to $30 an hour during the day and $60 an hour at night.
Recreation Department Summer Program for youth throughout the city will now be a free program, open to all children in the city, according to Aiello. Previously, the program cost participants $17 for one child in a family, $30 for two and $40 for three. Last year, the program brought in $2,300 for the city.
Recreation Director John Anastasia said, “The fees are not fair for children [in disadvantaged] homes.”
Aiello added, “It is sad to see a child that wants to participate in an event not be able to because he is not signed up for the program. We wanted to waive this fee to get kids off the couches and into the parks, in supervised activities.”
The rate changes were passed unanimously Tuesday and will go into effect immediately.