Closing streets to stay fit will cost more


File photo. 2013 St. Patrick’s Day run in Valentine.

Yes, there have been more and more races, marathons and so forth, and the city has been losing money on them.

The city council finance committee on Wednesday passed an ordinance that dramatically raises race fees.

No one spoke against it and tomorrow the measure goes to the full council for final approval.

The biggest change will not go into effect until next year with the creation of new city impact fees.

Instead of a flat $100 fee, it will cost from $300 to $1,300 for an event up to 5 kilometers, depending on the number of participants.

From 5 K to 10 K, it will be from $700 to $1,700.

A half marathon with less than 1,000 participants will cost $1,900 and one with more than 5,000 will be $2,900.

A full marathon with more than 5,000 participants will be $4,000.

Meanwhile this year, the flat $100 fee goes up to $150 if filed from 60-to-89 days before the event and $200 if filed 30-69 days before the event and $300 if filed within 30 days of the event.

Staff said that is because it takes city workers time and effort to coordinate the events and check things like utility work and other things along the routes.

Bicycle events that do not close streets will not have to pay the new impact fees but only the flat fees.

Councilwoman Jan Marcason said the city started making changes in its race policy, like requiring signs along routes, after neighbors along Ward Parkway complained they could not get places during the events.

A study showed the city was losing money with its $100 fees and someone proposed per person charges instead, which could raise large race fees to $10,000 or more.

After outcry, the city backed off that and will now have an impact fee structure that covers its costs, staff reported.

In 2014, the city permitted 72 races, up from 65 in 2013.

Marcason said “We’re really promoting a variety of neighborhoods – we have races now all over the city.”

She does not race herself, she said, and did not participate in things like the hot chocolate run where people stop on the way to drink chocolate.

“I’m training by just eating chocolate,” she said.

Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mary Jane Judy, who does run, gave some support.

“The best place as a runner,” she said, “is when you’re coming up Main at 31st and you smell LaMar’s” (donuts).

Mayor Sly James said he would watch races from Marcason’s porch, but only if she served food.

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