Little League, rugby, youth soccer and other groups could have to start paying to use certain Hopkins athletic fields they now use for free because the city needs more money to maintain its parks.
The Park Board has signed off on proposed fees that range from $10 to $50 for a two-hour block at most athletic fields, and council members didn’t offer much objection at Tuesday’s work session.
Steve Stadler, Hopkins' public works director, said the city needs a new revenue stream to provide for park maintenance. The fees are a fair way to do that and other cities charge, he said.
Part of the challenge is that costs are increasing. Jason Gadd, Park Board member and city councilman elect, noted that the city budgeted $15,000 to repair a roof on a storage building. The cost actually came in at $22,000.
The fees are expected to generate about $6,734 for the city.
The hourly fees would be based on how many people in the group are Hopkins or Minnetonka residents and whether the group is closed or open. and would both have flat $5-per-day fees because the city does minimal maintenance there.
The changes would not affect the Little League fields, which Hopkins operates in partnership with Hopkins Area Little League.
Little League is still expected to bear the biggest brunt of the increase because it would have to pay to use the practice fields, which would cost about $3,780 based on 2011 use.
The group told the Park Board that would equate to about $3 to $5 extra per player if it couldn’t find money from other sources.
Staff will request approval of the new fees at the Dec. 6 City Council meeting.
Estimated cost for current groupsHopkins Dynamo Soccer $615 Hopkins Youth Football $294 Hopkins Youth Rugby $1,260 Hopkins Area Little League $3,780 Hopkins-Minnetoka Babe Ruth $0 Ultimate Frisbee $285 Oakes Park Cricket Group $500
For a detailed listing of the fees, click on the PDF to the right of the article.