By Debbie Carson, Online Editor
FELLSMERE — The fees to rent city facilities and the hours that parks will be open are going to change. The Fellsmere City Council voted unanimously to approve the changes at its last council meeting.
The changes include an increase in fees to rent such facilities as the Fellsmere Community Center and a limit to hours at Fellsmere parks, including the Senior League, Little League, Soccer Field, Grant Avenue, and the tennis and handball courts on Colorado Avenue.
“I won’t promise you this will be the last time I bring this to you,” City Manager Jason Nunemaker told the council.
To rent space at the Community Center, all individuals or groups will be expected to pay a $150 security deposit. Non-profits will also pay a $20 rental fee and all others will pay $100.
With the renovation of the Old Fellsmere School nearing completion, Nunemaker told the council at a previous meeting that they would have to work out the fee structure and rental policies for the meeting space and auditorium within the building.
As for the parks, members of council have expressed concerns regarding having the facilities open essentially 24 hours daily, which has led to some vandalism at various parks.
Park hours will be 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Nunemaker told the council that they could expect to hear feedback from park users as the hours go into effect. The council might choose to extend hours to midnight or later, depending on what residents have to say.
Councilwoman Sara Savage has said at prior meetings that she has seen people gathered at Grant Park as late (or early) as 3 or 4 a.m.
One of the proposed changes the city had considered was charging organized sports groups to use the ball fields. However, city leaders reconsidered in favor of attracting teams to the parks.
“We don’t want to push people away,” Nunemaker said.
Instead, the city’s goal is to encourage such teams to reserve space on the fields for their regular games.
Councilwoman Sara Savage expressed concern about having reservations – that not everyone might plan ahead to reserve time on the fields.
Nunemaker said that residents do not have to have a reservation, that they can use the fields until a group that does have a reservation shows up.
“Everyone seems to be getting along,” he noted.
Anyone interested in finding out how to reserve space or what is involved in doing so, is asked to contact City Manager Jason Nunemaker’s office by calling (772) 571-1616.