By Patrick McArdle
MANCHESTER — The fee for teams and organizations using the athletic fields at Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park this summer has been eliminated, but reserving the field will cost $10 under a new rate schedule approved by the Select Board on April 24.
Town Manager John O’Keefe told board members the town was not earning back expenses from its usage fee of $15.
The cost of “lining” the fields, the process by which the boundaries of the athletic fields are marked with white paint, is expensive and Liz Ambuhl, director of the parks and recreation department, spends a lot of time chasing down people who haven’t paid the usage fee.
“We get a lot of complaints about any fees that we charge for the fields down at the park. A lot of people feel that they should be free since they already pay for (the fields) with their taxes. We always have to explain that not everybody is a taxpayer who uses the park,” he said.
While it’s a small fee, O’Keefe said Ambuhl pursues it because otherwise those who pay are subsidizing those who don’t.
That will no longer be a concern with the use fee eliminated. However, the use will be “first come, first serve” unless the user pays a reservation fee of $10.
“If you’ve got a soccer tournament or a soccer game and you want to have guaranteed use of the field, you have to pay $10 for a permit and that’s for a three-hour period. This policy applies to everybody including (Burr and Burton Academy,)” O’Keefe said.
For the complete story, see Wednesday’s Rutland Herald.