Higher Fees Proposed for Recreation Facilities

The new Cub Run RECenter in Chantilly, which offers classes as varied as karate, above, and belly-dancing, below, is a reflection of rising participation in recreational programs.
The new Cub Run RECenter in Chantilly, which offers classes as varied as karate, above, and belly-dancing, below, is a reflection of rising participation in recreational programs. (Photos By Jahi Chikwendiu -- The Washington Post)

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By C. Woodrow Irvin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 9, 2006

County park officials are proposing an array of fee increases, including a 5 percent rise in admission to recreation centers, to help cover what officials say are escalating costs. The changes, if approved by the Park Authority board, would go into effect April 1.

A public hearing on the proposed increases has been set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Park Authority headquarters.

Under the proposal, the admission fees to Fairfax's nine RECenters would be as follows:

· The daily adult admission fee would jump from $8.25 to $8.70. The discounted fee for qualified county residents would increase from $6.20 to $6.50.

· An annual pass would increase from $783.85 to $823. The discounted pass would go from $548.50 to $576, a 5 percent hike.

Park officials said that the rise in fees would help offset increases in costs such as utilities. Natural gas expenditures, for instance, rocketed up 104 percent in the first three months of the budget year over the same period last year.

RECenter and county-owned golf course operations are financed entirely from user fees. Attendance at the centers is rising, officials said, and the county opened a new RECenter, Cub Run in Chantilly, last year.

The last time RECenter fees were raised was 2004.

Other proposals being considered include fee increases of as much as $44 to reserve picnic shelters, up to $40 more to reserve an hour of playing time on the synthetic turf athletic field at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Chantilly, and a $22 increase to the base rate for an hourly rental of the entire Mount Vernon Ice Arena.

The cost to rent the South Run RECenter field house in Springfield would increase from $80 to $120 an hour. Greens fees at most golf courses would rise between $1 and $4. At Laurel Hill Golf Club, the county's newest, the cost of an annual membership would increase 25 percent, to $950 beginning next January.

At the popular Water Mine water park at Lake Fairfax, the daily fee would go up $1 in all categories. The current fees range from $7 to $12.

Complete details are available at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/feeproposal.htm or at Park Authority offices, RECenters, golf courses, nature centers and historic sites.

Wednesday's hearing is in Room 106/107 on the first floor of the Herrity Building, 12055 Government Center Pkwy. For optional advance registration, call 703-324-8662.

Comments can also be sent by e-mail to parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov or by mail to: Public Information Office/Fee Comments, Fairfax County Park Authority, 12055 Government Center Pkwy., Suite 927, Fairfax, Va. 22035-1118. Written comments will be accepted through Feb. 28.

For more information, call 703-324-8563.


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