Organizers of fundraisers and charity fun runs looking to rent Lodi Lake for the day will see rate increases this year.
The Lodi Parks and Recreation Commission on Tuesday unanimously voted to increase Lodi Lake rental fees by $300 in 2014, with another increase scheduled for 2015.
Currently, the city charges $400 to residents to rent the lake for events like the Womble Run or the Trix Fun Run. A fee of $500 is charged to non-residents.
Fees will now increase to $700 for residents and $800 for non-residents. Next year, fees will increase to a minimum of $1,000 for residents and $1,200 for non-residents.
Jeff Hood, the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services director, said the higher fees are needed because the parks department needs to be sustainable in the long-term. Maintenance costs for these events are hindering that, he said. In addition, the department loses revenue when community members want to use the lake but cannot because the entire park is being used for an event, he said.
Hood said there as many as 14 charity runs, fundraisers and races each year, five of which are held by Lodi Unified School District.
Last month the commission discussed increasing the fee to $1,000 for both residents and non-residents, which is still lower than Stockton’s Oak Grove Park, which the city used as a model for a fee increase.
However, the majority of commissioners Tuesday night did not want to more than double the fee for the city’s customers right out of the gate.
“The City of Lodi should look further down the road and incrementally notify users of the fees that are coming,” vice chairman Rick Morgan said. “I hate seeing a huge increase in one lump sum when users don’t know it’s coming.”
While fees will be increased, the number of races held at the lake may be limited this year if the city receives a $710,000 grant from the California Division of Boating and Waterways.
The grant money would help pay for a new boat dock, boat ramp and completely new parking lot near the boat launch. However, a condition of the grant is that the city must keep the park open to boaters during the peak boating season, which Hood said is March through November.
Organizers who want to put on an event during those months will be denied use of the park, though existing events like Fourth of July at the Lake and the Trix run will be grandfathered in.
“A lot of good publicity comes from these events,” commissioner David Akin said. “I don’t want to scare people off, and I think we’d want to see, like Vice Chair Morgan suggested, a lower incremental increase over time.”
The commission’s recommendation will be presented to the Lodi City Council for final approval at a future meeting.
Contact reporter Wes Bowers at firstname.lastname@example.org.