WILTON, N.Y. >> A $2 rate increase for a popular Gavin Park activity might cost Wilton more in the long run by driving people away, fee hike opponents say.
Many area seniors take part in daily games of pickleball, similar to tennis, but played on a much smaller court with paddles and plastic whiffle balls.
Games are held outdoors in summer at no charge to participants. But the program is headed indoors beginning Monday and the Town Board, at new Recreation Director Mark Marino’s suggestion, recently increased fees from $3 to $5 per day for non-Wilton residents, effective Jan. 1.
Town residents will still pay the lower amount.
“What they don’t understand is the camaraderie,” said Alan Ross of Wilton, an avid player. “People from Clifton Park to Glens Falls come here. There’s a list of more than 100 people. About 15 to 20 come every day. We don’t know what percentage are non-residents. If these people stop coming, it hurts the whole program.
“They don’t just come here to play,” he said. “Afterward, they have lunch or go shopping in Wilton. We’ve already had some non-residents say they aren’t going to come any more.”
The town’s recreation program costs $1.3 million, but revenue from fees totals $533,000, or roughly one-third the expense, town Comptroller Jeff Reale said.
The increase for pickleball is one of several recreation rate hikes the Town Board approved recently.
The Junior NBA program at Gavin Park is going from $125 to $135 for residents, $10 more, but an extra $20 for non-residents from $165 to…
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