Consideration of a seasonal parking fee reduction or waiver at Jacob Myers Park for residents age 65 or older was brought to the Riverbank City Council at its Monday, May 13 meeting.
The Friends of Jacob Myers Park have recommended reducing the parking fees from $5 to $3 for Riverbank residents age 65 or older.
Councilmember Dotty Nygard requested that the City Council consider waiving the seasonal parking fee at the park for Riverbank senior citizens.
For the past two summers, starting in 2011, the City Council approved a seasonal parking fee of $5 per vehicle at Jacob Myers Park (JMP). Trail walkers and vehicles with ADA (disabled) placards are currently not charged the parking fee. The fee is only required on weekends and holidays starting on the first weekend in May through the last weekend in September.
“This has been successful in helping us maintain the park, provide security and other things,” said Sue Fitzpatrick, Director of Parks and Recreation.
According to Fitzpatrick, the fee was established because the cost of maintaining the park in a satisfactory manner exceeded the available General Fund resources through the city. That meant the park was not being maintained properly, which created health and safety issues and therefore, discouraged use.
The fees collected are reinvested back into the park in order to maintain a safe, inviting atmosphere for park visitors. It allows the city to supply the necessary services for security; park aide services, including managing the trash collection and maintaining the restrooms; paper and cleaning supplies; as well as partial funding for safe tree cuts and playground equipment replacement, she added.
“The positive comments from visitors about the quality of the park and almost no complaints about the fee suggest that those using the park consider the value of the park experience to outweigh the cost of the parking fee,” said Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick explained that the Friends of Jacob Myers Park had discussed the senior discount at their meeting on April 23 and were all in favor of the proposal.
Scholarships are also available for those in need of assistance with the parking fees, who meet the criteria. Residents can apply for a scholarship by filling out the proper forms at City Hall.
The council did not come to a decision on this matter at their recent meeting and asked for additional research regarding where people are coming from and the percentage of senior citizen use of the park. The survey is in progress and the results will be reviewed once it is completed.