Fees to rise again for four West Center programs in ‘08

       For the second straight year, the West Intergenerational Center has raised the fees for its early-childhood programs, called Building Blocks and Summer Blocks and for its After School Drop-In program.
       The programs are overseen by the Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department. City Council approved the West increases, along with a few at other city community centers, at its meeting Nov. 13. The changes will take effect in January.
       The two years of increases follow several years without hikes in those programs; as a result, the city is having to catch up on its mounting costs for instructors and supplies, according to West Director E.D. Rucker. Spreading the hike over two years was intentional. “We couldn't make such a huge jump all at once,” he said. “By doing it in stages, we're trying to keep the public from taking a big hit.”
       The increases over the past two years are as follows:
  • Summer Blocks (Tuesday and Thursday) - from $39 in 2006 to $50 in 20007 to $61 in 2008.
  • Summer Blocks (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) - $65/$70/$89.
  • Building Blocks (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) - $63/$70/$85.
  • After School Drop-In - from $1.50/$1.70/$1.75 a day.
           The latter program which allows West (or other middle school) students to study, play games, use computers or watch videos after school, had been a free program until 2003, Rucker noted. When a fee was first instituted, “it killed the program,” he recalled, but since then it's gradually picked up again.
           He explained that the amount of the fee increases were determined under a city policy that city-run activities, as much as possible, should pay for themselves - 100 percent in adult programs and 45 percent in youth.
           Rucker believes that, in comparison with other Front Range cities, as well as with the private sector, people are still getting a good bargain. “I don't think the public understands the deal afforded them by the Parks Department,” he said.
           Unchanged are other West fees - the per-person costs of $2 for Teen Nights, $35 for a spring break program and $186 for the Summer Quest program.

    Westside Pioneer article