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Fairfax County rec centers, golf courses and more could get pricier this year

The mini golf course at Fairfax County’s Jefferson District Park (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

It could be a little more expensive to visit some Fairfax County parks this upcoming year.

The Fairfax County Park Authority is soliciting public feedback on a proposal to push up fees at local park facilities.

The increase would be, in part, to help pay to keep up with Virginia’s minimum wage increases.

“The FY 2023 budget included a 4.01% market rate adjustment for all employees, in addition to fully funding performance-based and longevity increases,” the proposal said. “The Park Authority Revenue Fund is also significantly impacted by the Minimum Wage increases that continue in 2022 and 2023.”

The park authority said it also had to offer signing and retention bonuses for difficult-to-fill summer positions, like lifeguards and camp counselors, to remain competitive.

“The estimated total for all increases was $1.8 million in FY 2023,” the proposal said. “While the FY 2024 compensation increase is currently unknown, it is anticipated to be similar to FY 2023.”

Retirement contributions and healthcare benefits also rose.

The county’s golf courses and rec centers are funded by user fees, not taxes. In the proposal, the park authority said the fees need to be adjusted to ensure operating costs can be met, as well as repair and replacement needs.

The proposal would increase fees at indoor swimming pools, recreation centers, golf courses and more. Rental of picnic areas, ampitheaters, volleyball courts and more would also get a little more costly.

The proposal also offered some insight into park usage. While the total number of rounds of golf decreased by 7% over the last year, attendance at rec centers increased dramatically over 2021 — though they remain lower than pre-Covid attendance and revenue levels.

If the fee adjustments are approved by the Park Authority Board at a meeting on March 22, it will take effect on April 1.

The park authority started accepting public comments on the proposal today (Wednesday) and will continue to do so through Feb. 2. A community meeting will be held virtually at 7 p.m. on Jan. 18.

The full list of fee adjustments is available in the proposal, starting on page 8. The fees would affect:

  • Golf courses
  • Driving ranges at Burke Lake, Oak Marr and Twin Lakes
  • The golf simulator at Pinecrest Golf Course
  • Facility rentals at Laurel Hill and Twin Lakes
  • Group admission and chaperone fees at all recreation centers
  • Indoor swimming pool base rental fees at rec centers
  • Gym rental fees at Audrey Moore, Lee District and Spring Hill
  • Admission and rentals at Water Mine, as well as shade, “funbrella” and picnic reservations
  • Picnic reservation rentals
  • All volleyball rentals
  • All amphitheater rentals
  • Bike rentals at County-managed parks
  • Boat launches at County-managed parks
  • Entrance fee to Burke Lake Park
  • Camping at Burke Lake Park and Lake Fairfax Park
  • All amusement carousel and train rides
  • Kayak, canoe and pedal boat rentals countywide
  • New garden plots at Hogge Park, Lorton/Nike
  • Various facility and room rentals

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