Gladstone: Recreation user fees unchanged, except for boaters

GLADSTONE – Unless you’re a boater, residents and visitors who use recreation facilities and services in Gladstone will notice little change to costs in the future.

The Gladstone City Commission approved recreation user fees at its regular meeting Monday night.

“Our user fees are presented a little bit different than some of the other departments and we adjust ours right before the ski hill starts opening,” said Gladstone Recreation Director Nicole Sanderson before presenting the fee schedule approved by the Parks and Recreation Board at Monday night’s city commission meeting.

Campers using the Gladstone Bay Campground in 2014 will not see any change in their fees. Spaces will continue to rent daily at $14 for a tent site, $23 for an electric spot, and $27 for full hook-up sites.

Monthly rates will also be maintained at $250 for tent sites, $450 for electric, and $550 for full hook-up.

“We are going to leave our rates the same although we are going to add three to four more sites down there and we have the utility connections to do that,” said Sanderson.

The majority of prices for recreation services have not changed. In the 2013-2014 season users can still participate in programs through the recreation department, rent facilities, use the boat ramp, and ski or tube at the sports park for the same amount as during the 2012-2013 season.

“The sports park we’re leaving the same also because until we can really make a product that we can sell we’re asking for … forgiving rates right now,” said Sanderson.

Changes to the harbor fee structure are based on the fee structure imposed by the state through the Michigan Waterways Program, which funded the harbor renovation project this summer. The city opted to use the closest fee tier to the current rates that still allowed the harbor to be profitable.

“I would imagine we could have left the rates the same for another five years, provided we left the same docks in there, but that just wasn’t going to work for us,” said Commissioner Matt Gay.

Under the new fee system, renting a 25-foot pier will cost $1,100, a 15 percent increase from last year; a 30-foot pier will cost $1,350, a 27 percent increase; and renting a 45-foot pier will cost $2295, a 31 percent increase.

Boaters who rent slips on the West End of the harbor, which did not receive new docks during the harbor renovations this year, will also see an 11 percent increase in fees.

“Although the West End did not receive new docks they are receiving jig poles and the luxuries of being part of the new harbor. So we did raise their rates also we went from $539 to $600. That’s not part of the Waterways system, that’s something different so we could choose what we’d like to do on that area,” said Sanderson.

Because the harbor renovation project received Michigan Waterway Program funding, the city was required to create a special harbor fund, which will not be sustained by the user fees from the harbor.

“The boaters feel very comfortable that they have their own fund down there now … it’d be like anything, that money can go back into the harbor,” said Sanderson.