Community sports teams will have to reserve Salt Lake City playing fields by the hour this spring, rather than in week-long blocks like they did in the past; concession stands will also have to pay more to set up shop. The Salt Lake City council voted last night to update the fee structure to accommodate an increased demand for fields.
Councilwoman Jill Remington Love says the change is not about increasing revenue, but freeing up limited fields for competing groups looking for a place to play.
“Under our current policy you can at a very low fee block out all the fields for the week," Love says. "So we’re hoping that by increasing the fee people will think about what they need and they’ll book what they need and not more than what they’ll need.”
The new fee system requires teams pay between $2 and $5 per hour depending on the organization. Previously, teams reserved fields by the week for a $15 flat fee.
Concession stand rental fees will also rise from $100 per season to up to $50 per month. In a four-month season, that means concessions fees will double for some.
The council also decided to continue operating under the so-called “grandfather clause”, which guarantees reservations for long-standing leagues. But Love says only up until 2015, when the city completes construction of its new soccer complex.
“We’re going to give ourselves a year to work through with the different clubs, a fair and equitable way to do it," Love says. "But for sure, clubs that are based in Salt Lake City, with kids who play from Salt Lake City and who have seniority are going to be given some sort of prioritization. But we want to work with all of the clubs and hopefully they can help us come up with a fair approach.”
The new fees will go into effect sometime this season. It’s unclear how soon that will be.