Pine officials discuss splash pad at meeting while also observing social distancing - PineCreek Journal

Pine officials discuss splash pad at meeting while also observing social distancing

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 | 11:00 PM

Although no decision has been made yet, the Pine Township parks and recreation committee recommended to the board of supervisors on Monday that they charge a $3 flat fee for use of the new splash pad currently under construction in Pine Community Park during the first year of operation.

That fee will allow them to recoup what they believe the operating costs will be this summer, committee chairman John Gill said, based upon information from the manufacturer.

“There’s been a huge investment made in this that we’re not trying to recover, but just at least recover enough to pay for the operating costs for the season,” he said.

The committee examined whether or not to charge a fee, then looked at whether to charge residents and non-residents equally. They also discussed the idea of having a season pass.

Not knowing exactly when the splash pad will open this year, however, and not wanting to complicate things upon admission by trying to figure out who’s a Pine resident and who’s not, their recommendation is to charge everyone the same.

“We only want to make a recommendation for the first year,” Gill said, noting that a season pass and other options may be more feasible in year two.

They based their analysis on 250 people per day for 90 days, with a split likely to be 40 percent residents, 40 percent Community Center members and 20 percent non-residents.

“The feeling after we went through this was to just charge $3 for each one,” he said. “We played with a lot of different models that, if the number of days was not 90 but 80, if the number of people coming changed, if we changed those fee amounts we’re not recovering our operating costs. At $3 (per person) it’s a simple model to implement and it’s only for year one, but it also gives us revenue of $67,000 compared to $45,000 in costs, but there’s also a cushion if the number of days doesn’t materialize or if the number of estimated people doesn’t materialize.”

Supervisor Pat Avolio said that he’d prefer to charge Pine residents less than non-residents and believed they could follow other municipalities’ procedures for determining residency in similar circumstances, such as golf courses.

“We’re providing the land and the infrastructure and everything the grant doesn’t cover and the donations that come from (Friends of Pine Community Parks) and others,” he said.

The total cost of the project is expected to total $750,000, with $250,000 coming from a Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant and the rest coming from the township’s recreation fund.

The supervisors would need to adopt a fee resolution in order to act upon the recommendation.

“Ultimately, it’s your decision,” Gill told the board. “But our recommendation is for the first year only we charge the flat $3 fee to try to get an understanding of volume, number of days, and confirmation of our true operating costs. We’re trying to establish some baseline for season one.”