Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bellevue to raise parks fees

$50 soccer games, $500 for ‘major events’

Express Staff Writer

Bellevue city officials hope to start charging $50 for the use of O'Donnell Park for soccer, and take hefty security deposits for the use of parks across the city.

The City Council passed a resolution Thursday amending fees for city park use and special events. A public hearing on the resolution will take place in May.

The resolution puts an end to exemptions for nonprofit organizations using city parks and establishes a $500 security deposit for "major events."

"We spend $25,000 to $30,000 on our parks each year," City Administrator Tom Blanchard said.

Use of the Memorial Park pavilion, snack building and stage would be assessed a fee of $25 per day and a security deposit of $100.

Organized events with 25 to 99 people would cost $50. Events with more than 100 people would cost $100 for use of half the park and $500 for use of the full park.

Events of either size would be assessed a refundable $500 security deposit.

All security fees would be refunded providing that all permit conditions, including cleanup, had been met.

The Big Wood Folk Festival, founded by former City Councilman Steve Fairbrother two years ago, was granted an exemption to the new fees. The council expressed a desire to develop the festival to the point at which the city could benefit by collecting local-option tax revenues from festival attendees.

Last year the Big Wood Folk Festival drew 140 people.

"If people want to be exempt from paying the park fees, they will have to come to the City Council and demonstrate that the event really benefits the city of Bellevue," Blanchard said.

Tony Evans:

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