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Committee makes compromise for race fees

Organizations that want to host 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer races in Charleston would still have to pay a fee for associated city services under a proposed ordinance, but the Parks and Recreation committee made changes Tuesday that should satisfy the city and organizations, said chairwoman Susie Salisbury.

Both for-profits and nonprofits would be charged fees for closing city streets and providing police officers for races, but nonprofits could have those cut in half by agreeing to have the city sponsor their races.

“Right now we’re not shown as a partner, and we’ve been giving [services] away at no charge to the nonprofits. Include us as a partner and then your $600 route is only $300,” Salisbury said as an example.

Those who want to host races can design their own courses, but they would be subject to city approval, Salisbury said. City Manager David Molgaard said a set of pre-determined courses made by the city would still be available for those interested.

“This gives the administration the flexibility of being able to offer customized races,” Molgaard said.

Salisbury said those changes make the ordinance “simple,” “clean,” and give nonprofits “the flexibility to choose their own route, assuming it passes the safety issues with the city.”

The committee also eliminated fees for public use of tennis courts at city recreational facilities. People could no longer reserve courts in advance, but rather they would be first come, first served.

Salisbury said, however, there would be tennis court fees for “organized play,” or groups such as schools that want to use the courts for practices and tournaments. Those charges would be worked out between the organization and the Parks and Recreation director.

“Each organized play event is going to be totally different, so it was difficult for us as a committee to set a fixed rate,” Salisbury said.

The proposed bill would increase Cato Park golf course fees for nine holes from six dollars to nine dollars. People could play unlimited rounds for $12. Salisbury said the course hasn’t raised its prices for at least 12 years.

“These rates are still the lowest in the area,” Salisbury said when comparing Cato Park fees to those at county and private courses.

While the committee proposed changes to the bill, no vote was taken on Tuesday, Salisbury said. The committee will reconvene for a vote on the new version of the ordinance once the City Attorney’s office writes a draft.

Reach Rachel Molenda at or 304-348-5102.

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