NRPA Connect Hot Topics

March 26, 2020, Department, by National Recreation and Park Association

2020 April We Are Parks and Rec Hot Topics Rental Fees 410

NRPA Connect is an online network with nearly 65,000 professionals to answer your questions, share your challenges and discuss trending topics in the field. Check out what is being discussed this month:

Rental Fee Waivers or Reductions for Community Groups — An NRPA member has sought advice on different diverse community groups and organizations asking to use their community centers at no or very low cost. They are interested in the process and criteria you use to equitably vet requests and determine what percentage or if any discounts should apply.

Several NRPA members offered the following suggestions:

  • We have an ordinance setting our fees for our community center. Our free rate states, “City business functions; local nonprofit charitable events; Copley-Fairlawn (our local school) school-related business/activities; Fairlawn civic group functions” — this includes area scouting groups as well. Then, we do have a reduced rate for nonprofit groups (that must provide us with their 501c3) using our building. Also, our residents pay half the price [of] non-residents.

  • As a government not-for-profit, we do not give discounts for any group or organization. As executive director, the best way for me to not get asked to give discounts is to explain that I just can’t do that.... If a group would like to request a discount or free rate, they can attend a board meeting and present to the 11-member board. None have ever done that in nine years.... Our rates for rental are affordable enough for all and barely cover our expenses to prep, accommodate and clean up after their events!

  • We provide an in-kind program, where a nonprofit or service group can complete a service project or community service in our parks to offset the cost of room/field rental. We’ve only been doing it for about three months this way, so we’re still feeling out the success of it.

  • Our fees are set by ordinances governed by the county. If a group would like any type of reduction of fees, there is a process in place. They must be a nonprofit, state their mission, submit an event plan. The packet is then presented at the bi-monthly Commission Meeting for approval. We also offer Enrichment Packages, where the group does service projects in the park to offset expenses prior to their event. There is an off-season and in-season option.

Log in to NRPA Connect today to share examples or chime into the discussion.