By David Slone
WARSAW – Rental fees for several Warsaw Parks buildings will increase by over 10% in 2023 to keep up with costs.
Parks Superintendent Larry Plummer presented the 2021 and 2022 rental fees to the Warsaw Parks and Recreation Board at their meeting Tuesday to see if the board saw any need to increase the figures or what their thoughts were on the rates.
As the Center Lake Pavilion is undergoing renovation, Board President Steve Haines said any changes to those rental fees would have to wait. Plummer said they could look at the pavilion’s rental fees in January or February as it will be a “whole new animal” as it will have two rental facilities there.
On the Fireman’s Building at Pike Lake, Haines asked if they made or lost money on that rental. Plummer said they’re in the black now, but there’s the cost of supplies and wages and those are going up.
The weekday rental is $200 plus tax from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., with the weekend rental at $250 plus tax. Board Vice President Larry Ladd said that while the Board was reluctant to raise fees, and no fees have been increased since 2020, “we’ve got to do something.”
Board member Jill Beehler agreed it was hard to raise the fees because “people are going to have less money to do these things and I kind of hate to see it go up for funeral dinners and things.”
Ladd made a motion to raise the weekday rental fee to $225 and the weekend rental fee to $275 after Plummer agreed with the figures. His motion was approved.
Ladd noted that significant changes and upgrades also were made to the Fireman’s Building. Plummer said the rental fee was still a “really good bargain.”
Fees for the Nye Youth Cabin were increased from $125 to $150 for weekdays and from $150 to $175 on weekends.
Weekday rental fee for the Lucerne cabins will remain at $75, but the weekend fee will increase from $75 to $100.
There will be no change to the Lucerne Amphitheater rental fee, which is $200 for weekdays and weekends. The Pete Thorn Youth Center gym also will remain at $40 per hour, while the Senior Activity Center lease will stay at $1,200 per month.
Plummer noted the SAC lease was last raised in 2020 and it was a “very good deal” with what they’re getting there. “They do provide things for the seniors that a lot of our programming doesn’t offer. They have programming for the seniors. It is a place for the seniors to come and walk and use that building, so it gives that part of our recreation for the seniors through the Senior Activity Center,” he said.
Kosciusko County Senior Services Executive Director David Neff lost some funding through United Way, Plummer stated, so he recommended the lease stay at $1,200 per month.
The Pike Lake Campground offers one-day, weekly, monthly and seasonal camping reservations. In 2021, the Board approved keeping the one-day reservation at $40 for 2022; increased the weekly from $210 to $250 for 2022; increased the monthly from $525 to $600 for 2022; and increased the seasonal from $2,100 to $2,200.
On Tuesday, the only change the Board made to the camping reservations was increasing the seasonal camping reservations from $2,200 to $2,500 for 2023. The season is April 15 to Sept. 30, Plummer said, or “169 days, 5-1/2 months, 24.14 days.”
No changes were made to dock rentals, guest passes or wood at the campground.
Delivered items fees – picnic tables and sawhorse tables inside and outside of city limits – also were not changed. Picnic tables in the park will remain at $5 per table, while picnic shelters rental will increase from $50 to $75.
No changes were made to the miscellaneous add-ons such as digital marquee
All the 2023 proposed program and event fees, as presented by Recreation Director Stephanie Schaefer, also were unanimously approved by the Board.
There will be only two fee increases to cover costs. Daddy’s Little Sweetheart Dance will go up from $15 per participant to $20, while Letters from Santa will increase from $2 to $3.
Two new events include the Easter Basket Take Home Kit, for $12, and Nerf Wars for mothers and sons at $7 per participant.
“We had a lot of people ask for us to do something for moms and their sons. We felt like this (Nerf Wars) would be something really fun,” Schaefer said.
Santa’s Workshop will remain at $15 for 2023. Schaefer said for the 2022 Santa’s Workshop, registration opened up Nov. 1 and it was completely sold out in seven hours.
“There was a huge demand for it, so next year we are going to be adding a second one to that,” she said.
One of the many free events is Light Up the Night. This year, it will be Dec. 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Central Park. That’s when all the holiday lights are officially lit up. Santa Claus will be on the Glover Pavilion stage, and 500 goodie bags with glow necklaces will be handed out.
“We’ve ran out the last several years,” Board member and Councilwoman Diane Quance stated.
Schaefer said she received good news Tuesday. For 2023, she has a new sponsor who reached out to her and they’ll be able to give out more goodie bags.
In his report, Maintenance Director Shaun Gardner said all the lights and characters are up in the park.
“We have to wrap up the cording yet, but starting tomorrow, we’re going to start going through testing everything and making repairs,” he said.
This year, Gardner said they’re trying to go to all LED for lighting.
“It was a pretty big upfront cost this year, but I think it’s going to be beautiful and it’s going to save money and power in the long run,” he said.
Some of the things added to the display this year included a group of carolers, a waving snowman and “also, there may be a T-Rex roaming the park,” Gardner said. “It’s not really Christmas-y, but who else has a T-Rex for Christmas?”
Plummer said Gardner wanted a T-Rex or a whale.
“I wanted a whale,” Gardner said.