Great Neck Park District eyes fee hikes for 2019

Great Neck Park District eyes fee hikes for 2019
Great Neck Park District Superintendent Jason Marra explains proposed fee changes and new programs the district hopes to implement. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Great Neck Park District officials weighed adopting fee hikes in its 2019 budget at a business meeting on Thursday night aimed at improving its programming and account for rising costs and competition

While most of the fees remained largely the same, there are scheduled increases for programs such as the sail school – from $425 to $450 – with early-bird options that would allow residents to pay the current cost.

The basic and special party playscape packages are also slated to rise $25 each; from $350 to $375 and $450 to $475, respectively.

But the biggest increase would come within the hockey program, according to the proposed fee schedule.

Joining the resident travel team program would cost $1,900 for early registrants and $2,000 for residents, as opposed to the current $1,355 and $1,400 – an increase of more than 40 percent.

For non-residents, the fees would increase $570 – or 31.1 percent – from $1,830 to $2,400 for early-bird registrants. For regular registrants, the fee would rise $600 from $1,900 to $2,500, or 31.6 percent.

The increases for the “Mites” travel team would also rise by over a third; the cost would rise $350 from $1,050 to $1,400 for early resident registrants and $400 for regular registrants from $1,100 to $1,500.

Great Neck Park District Superintendent Jason Marra explained that the hockey programs have been “rejuvenated” and adding teams, meaning demand is high.

Marra also said they also hope to add coaches, boost program quality and compete with comparable programs on Long Island, which also tend to price much higher.

According to Marra, comparable programs like Long Island Edge go for well over $3,000.

“The reason we’re going with such a large increase right now is pretty much over the past five years, or maybe a little longer, our hockey travel program in-house program has been rejuvenated,” Marra said, adding that there likely won’t be an increase the year after.

The fee for joining Bruins Fundamentals, which teaches hockey basics, would meanwhile rise $100 for residents from $650 to $750 and $85 for non-residents from $765 to $850.

“I think with the exception of the hockey program, most of the fees [increases] are nominal and are aligned to support staff increases, operating costs, or at least there’s a program improvement to go along with it,” Marra said.

Officials also proposed raising the price of birthday parties on ice rinks by a third. Under the proposal, the bronze-tiered party would rise $100 from $300 to $400, the silver-tiered parties would go up $150 from $350 to $500, and gold-ranked birthday parties would go up from $450 to $600.

The proposed fee schedule also includes a new pre-purchase pool guests pass good for 10 visits that would cost $85 – or $8.50 per person.

Park Commissioner Robert Lincoln described the proposal as a fair one that could benefit many people, entice more guests, and go to the heart of the Park District’s goal of “servicing people.”

“It’s not all about revenue,” Lincoln said.

The proposed fee schedule also includes private and “semi-private” lesson packages for the skate school for both residents and non-residents. The amount of lessons available ranges from one to 12. Costs also vary from $55 for one lesson for a resident to $990 for a non-resident wanting to take 12 classes.

Holiday camps were replaced by Winter Camp Parkwood, the proposed fee schedule says, which will cost $450 a week or $120 per day.

Additionally, the 2019 proposal also notes the introduction of a “sports combo” program that would cost $60 the first week because of the July 4 holiday and $75 each week after.

Marra said it aims to compete with sports camps and over its eight week period offer sports like basketball, lacrosse, soccer, and baseball.

Marra also said they will be starting a leadership program, known as “Parkwood Leader in Training,” that would feature two days of away trips and three days working in a group with younger groups and act as a counselor training program.

The full eight-week season would cost $3,356, while weeks two through six would cost $430 each. The first week would be $345 due to the July 4 holiday.

There will also be a $75 fee decrease for the basketball clinic, Marra said, or a reversion to the $100 residential and $150 non-residential pricing originally adopted in 2017. Other league fees appear slated to remain the same.

Ultimately, Lincoln said the fee schedule and overall budget is currently a work in progress.

“This is still a formative process,” Lincoln said.

In unrelated business, commissioners also discussed replacing its boat ramp at Steppingstone Park, describing it as “a necessity” but worn down over the years, as well as plans to introduce an area for pickleball at Allenwood Park.

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