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Charleston Daily Mail (West Virginia)

A new bill will still charge event organizers fees for holding foot and similar races in Charleston, but it gives city officials greater flexibility in determining cost.

Council's Parks and Recreation Committee discussed and unanimously approved the bill during a meeting Monday afternoon. It must go to council's finance committee before being voted on by the full council.

It would require City Manager David Molgaard to appoint an events coordinator to create and oversee regulations which can include pre-identified low-cost courses in the city and any fees to be charged. The fees are to be representative of the cost to the city to hold the event, including police and street department workers.

Fees for nonprofits would be half the established rate as long as the group agrees to list the city of Charleston as a co-sponsor for the event.

Parks and Recreation Committee members modified the proposed bill to make fees effective Jan. 1, 2015 and to require that the fee schedule for the upcoming year be established annually by Oct. 1.

Councilman Andy Richardson, an at-large Democrat, said he didn't want specific fees for races or other facilities to be written into the bill to allow for flexibility.

"I think the whole philosophy we embraced at the last committee meeting kind of got us away from a set fee, he said.

In addition to the race fees, the bill also takes all fees for city recreation facilities out of city code entirely, except for the Cato Park golf course. For all fother facilities, fees will be set by the city parks and recreation director.

Fees for the golf course would be $9 for one round on the nine-hole course and $4 for each additional round. However, if players decide up front they want unlimited rounds for the day, the cost is $12. Discounts also apply for seniors and schools.

South Hills Republican Councilman Courtney Persinger said he wanted to make sure a discount for unlimited play was available, as long as the player decided to play multiple rounds up front.

"If you're going to play all day, you should get a discount, he said.

At-large Democrat Councilman Jerry Ware said he wanted to keep costs low to ensure the public wouldn't be priced out of the public course.

"It's a little, par 3 course, he said. "It's not playing at Edgewood or anything like that.

In other business, the committee:

-Voted to end the city's lease for a playground on Oakridge Drive and renew the lease for a playground on Wertz Avenue.

Snodgrass, who represents the ward in which both playgrounds are located, said the Oakridge playground is little used, while several families are frequent users of the Wertz area.

-Briefly discussed the future of the Vandalia Neighborhood Park, which includes a pool that has not been open for more than two years.

Salisbury asked committee members to come up with ideas for the future of the property for discussion at the next committee meeting. Those ideas could include leasing or selling the property, she said.

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