Midtown Raleigh News

Raleigh considering court, field rental fee increase

Tennis players would need to bring an extra 50 cents to their next match, and a baseball team would need to pony up $5 more to use a local field under a proposal to increase fees at city parks.

The proposed increases are part of a regular review to make sure Raleigh’s fees are competitive but not cost-prohibitive.

“We want to be at a rate that doesn’t restrict people from participating,” said Scott Payne, assistant director at the Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department.

Payne said Raleigh officials look at what similar cities are charging, participation rates and maintenance costs to determine the increases.

The fees are split into a three-year review cycle. Youth sports registration fees and athletic fields, courts and open space rental fees are under consideration this year.

The city also will consider new fees for Mordecai Historic Park’s visitor center, which opened in July, and for large shelter rentals at Durant Nature Park and Lake Wheeler Nature Park.

The proposal would increase the rate for tennis court reservations by 50 cents per half hour, from $1.50 to $2. Field, court and open space rentals would increase from $25 to $30, and youth sport registrations would increase from $18 to $20 for city residents.

The rates would take effect July 1.

The West Raleigh Baseball Association frequently rents fields for practices, spending tens of thousands of dollars annually.

James Poole, president of the West Raleigh Exchange Club, which runs the league, said the increases aren’t a problem as long as the city keeps the fields in good condition.

“We don’t have a problem with the fee raise. We understand that you have to do that,” he said. “In return, all we ask is that they maintain the fields and keep them in a playable position.”

At Mordecai Historic Park, the rates to rent the visitor center would range from $75 per hour for the use of a classroom to $1,400 for an eight-hour rental of the chapel, park grounds and visitor center gallery. The proposed fees are higher for people who don’t live in Raleigh.

The parks and recreation advisory board is scheduled to discuss the potential increases Thursday night, with a vote expected in February. The proposal would then go to the City Council for a final vote.