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Town of Herndon to cut parks and recreation fees to reduce financial barriers

Town of Herndon government offices (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The Town of Herndon is considering reductions in its parks and recreation fees in order to reduce financial barriers and encourage underserved youth and families to use the town’s facilities.

At a Herndon Town Council meeting on Sept. 5, the council discussed the proposal. If approved, the town would identify specific single and multi-family residents that could benefit from a reduced admission fee for the Herndon Community Center, which includes an indoor pool, gym, fitness room and racquetball courts.

Qualification would be determined by using several data sets that identify equity emphasis areas and historically disadvantaged communities. The town may also filter for areas below the median income, which is currently $117,741.

Town residents within these areas would receive discounts if they provide proof of address. Residents who provide proof of residency and documentation of need would also receive discounts. Non-residents living within the Herndon High School pyramid will also receive discounted non-resident rates with required documentation.

The town also wants to hire more staff — preferably bilingual staff — during peak hours.

“The department is seeking to hire (preferably bi-lingual) staff to maintain a presence within the center, develop a rapport with those using the facility, educate patrons on the availability and proper use of amenities, discourage unwelcome outside influences, and enforce expectations of behavior,” the Sept. 5 staff memo states.

Adults would pay $4 instead of $7 for daily passes and $40 instead of $63 for 10 visit passes. A 25 visit pass costs $90 instead of $140.

The idea came about after staff and the town manager met with Cornerstones, a local nonprofit organization that promotes self-sufficiency,  to create a reasonable and equitable fee schedule.

As part of the proposal, the town would also increase the hourly light fee from $4 to $5 per hour for the lit fields at Bready Park.