Rec and Park evens the score by approving facility fee hikes

Renting a tennis court, taking a capoeira class or learning to sing in San Francisco will cost more money — part of an increased effort, city officials say, to make sure teams and programs using public facilities pay their fair share.

A number of formerly free classes — including piano, voice, Pilates, “ethnijazz” dance and capoeira — will cost $1.75 to $8 per hour if the smorgasbord of new fees approved unanimously by the Recreation and Park Commission on Thursday is ultimately approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Raising fees could actually boost attendance in the long run, according to Recreation and Park Superintendent of Citywide Services Terry Schwartz.

“About 60 percent of our programs are free, and nobody signs up for free stuff,” because the public perceives it as low-quality, Schwartz said. Recreation and Park leaders will aim to reduce the number of free classes to about 20 percent, according to Schwartz.

If The City plans to charge more for its classes, the quality bar must be raised, according to parks advocate Andrea O'Leary.

“I’ve been to a lot of recreation centers, and it’s glorified babysitting,” O’Leary said. “A lot of programs sound good on paper, but when you get there, they’re boring.”

Also approved was a more rigorous application process for nonprofit sports teams, intended to prevent private groups from renting recreation facilities at the $25-per-hour nonprofit rate, rather than the $65 regular rate.

The oversight board also voted to increase women’s volleyball fees from $200 to $310 Thursday.

The new fees may only generate additional revenues of $15,000 to $50,000 each year, according to Katie Petrucione, finance director for the department. The department is currently working to close a budget gap of up to $6 million, spokeswoman Rose Dennis said. In recent weeks, the commission has also approved plans to charge for parking in Golden Gate Park and boost admission fees at Coit Tower and the Japanese Tea Garden.

Additionally, commissioners voted April 3 to charge more in 2009 for summer day camps, a move that would raise $40,000 for the department, according to General Manager Yomi Agunbiade.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

Paying more to learn

Students may soon pay for city-offered classes that currently cost nothing, such as capoeira lessons, right. The Recreation and Park Commission has approved a matrix of fees that would be based on four student-skill levels and five “steps” based on the experience of the instructor.

Bay Area NewsLocalneighborhoods

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Mayor London Breed said The City would pause reopening plans in order to “make sure we continue our cautious and deliberate approach.” <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
SF slows down reopening after COVID-19 cases rise

Restaurants no longer permitted to increase indoor dining capacity to 50 percent

Toilet (Shutterstock)
Table salt and poop: Testing for COVID-19 in S.F. sewage

The City’s sewers could provide an early warning of fresh outbreaks

CCSF file photo
Workforce development fund to support training programs at City College

Supervisors back plans to use $500K toward economic recovery efforts through CCSF

Lakeshore Elementary School was closed in March shortly before SFUSD closed all schools due to coronavirus concerns. The district is now working to prepare all elementary schools to reopen by mid-January.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
School district preparing buildings for hybrid learning

SFUSD plans to use 72 elementary schools and 12 early education sites for first phase of reopening

Most Read