The parks and recreation department in Austin, Texas, wants fitness-related businesses to pay a $500 permit fee if they hold classes in city parks. The department also hopes to limit when and where those classes can be conducted. "The whole idea is we are starting to see a conflict of use," Sara Hensley, Austin's parks director, told KVUE News, explaining that she questions whether it's right for commercial businesses to use public park land for private gain. "I think that is where we want to hear from general citizens. It's starting to take up the park user areas, and some people have actually been run off."
Local fitness trainer Cody Butler, who teaches a boot-camp class at the city's Auditorium Shores, told the ABC-TV affiliate that requiring a fee for trainers and creating fitness zones would conflict with the city's goal of making Austin the fittest city in the nation. "I don't see why the city needs to be involved in helping us run our businesses," Butler said.
The parks department has proposed two dozen fitness zones (which does not include Butler's preferred Auditorium Shores). A public meeting regarding the issue will be held Oct. 4.