Renting a Columbia County facility such as the Savannah Rapids Pavilion might soon cost a little more.
At a May 2 meeting, Columbia County commissioners approved the first reading of a resolution that would increase the rental rates for certain county facilities such as the pavilion by an average 18 percent, said Barry Smith, the county's director of Community and Leisure Services.
"We haven't moved the rates up in five years," Smith said. "It is to cover rising cost of operations, staffing costs and to get us in line with other comparable facilities."
Smith said a study was done of other comparable rental facilities, including Belair Conference Center and Augusta Jewish Community Center.
"We noticed we're considerably under what theirs are," Smith said.
If the commission approves the second reading of the resolution at a May 16 meeting, the rental for the Savannah Rapids Pavilion top floor Grand Rapids Room will increase from $675 for six hours to $800. The rental fee for the top-floor Grand Rapids Ballroom, which accommodates as many as 400 people, could increase from $875 for six hours to $1,000.
"We're already booked through 2006 and Saturdays in 2007 are limited," said Sandy Boner, the county's Community Centers Department manager. Planning for an internal renovation of the pavilion will start in the fall.
"We feel like physically, we look good enough to charge an increase," she said.
If the resolution is passed, the fee for renting the Eubank Blanchard Community Center in Winfield, which accommodates as many as 75 people, will rise from $165 to $250 per day.
The resolution also includes establishing the initial fee schedule for renting the Evans Town Center Field, Reed Creek Interpretive Center and audio and visual equipment at the new performing arts center in the Columbia County Library.
The proposed fee changes include a $250 per day fee for anyone renting the Evans Town Center Field, both before and after renovation, for an event where admission is charged. Anyone wanting to play soccer, throw flying discs for their dogs or fly a kite on the field will still be able to do so free of charge, Smith said.
Reed Creek Interpretive Center will rent between $100 and $175 after its projected October opening. Rates for the center had to be put into place early so people could reserve the center in advance for any event scheduled for after the opening, Boner said.
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