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Parks revenue down for the year

County official sees in dip a sign economy heals

– A dip in revenues is never a good thing, but in one instance it could be an indicator that the sluggish economy is on the rebound.

Allen County Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jeff Baxter told parks board members Thursday that revenues have dropped this year, but it could be because of more people spending more money to travel out of town.

The parks benefited for several years during and after the recession, Baxter said.

“Families were more likely to schedule ‘staycations’ instead of vacations, meaning they stayed close to home and did activities close to home,” Baxter said.

From January through Oct. 31 the county parks had $148,609 in revenue, down about $3,500 from the same time period last year, he said.

Revenues are provided in part by rentals of classrooms, nature centers, picnic areas, and classrooms at Metea and Fox Island parks.

Other sources include ski rentals, educational programs, day camps, gift shops, admission fees and annual passes, fishing and mushroom hunting.

Part of the reason for the decrease could also be attributed to wet and cooler weather, Baxter said.

During the same time period, the parks had $82,566 in expenses, down $2,158 from last year.

The county parks board has approved a 2014 budget of $494,281.

In other business, the board voted to reduce the hours of the nature centers at both Metea and Fox Island parks during the week.

Hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends. Previously, hours were 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. all week.

In the parks system are Metea, Fox Island, Payton, Cook’s Landing and the newly acquired Deer Run.