PINELLAS PARK — Some parents could be paying as much as 57 percent more to have their kids in this city's summer camp programs.
The revised fee schedule the City Council passed Thursday includes other increased costs, such as rentals of city facilities. The price for renting a meeting room at Park Station, the faux train station on Park Boulevard, has gone up from $15 to $20 an hour. Rental of a second- floor classroom with audiovisual equipment has doubled from $15 an hour to $30 an hour.
The fee for the 10-week summer play camp program is also going up by about 29 percent, from $350 for the session to $450. But, to help parents who might have a hard time paying that at one time, Pinellas Park will accept weekly payments of $48, bringing the total for the session to $480.
The council also okayed new 10-week summer recreation programs: A theme camp for $550 for the session; a Tween and Teen camp for $250 for the session; and a sports camp for $75 a week.
The new camps have added a slight twist and will be site-specific.
In past years, parents who wanted their children in the summer play camp had a choice of choosing the session at Broderick Recreation Center, on the south side of the city, or Forbes Recreation Center, on the north.
The sports camp will be at Youth Park, 4100 66th Ave. N. The city is constructing a new recreation building there and, if it is not ready, the sports program will be put off until 2012. Likewise, the Tween and Teen camp, which is directed at middle schoolers. That will be lodged in the revamped Skyview Recreation Center, 9010 54th Way N. If that center is not ready, that camp will also be delayed until 2012.
The theme camp will be at the Forbes Center, 6401 94th Ave. N. The summer play camp will be at Broderick, 6101 66th Ave. N. Both are for children ages 6 to 12.
Parents who want their children at Forbes or who get shut out of Broderick will have to pay $550, which is about 57 percent more than they have been paying for their children to attend the program at Forbes.
The first time parents heard about the change in rates was Thursday afternoon when they picked up their children. It was just hours before the vote on the proposed increase and not enough time for them to organize a protest, said Darlene Mazzuco. Mazzuco said other parents asked her to attend Thursday's council meeting to object.
Mazzuco said the change will hit her especially hard as she'll have two children in the Forbes program this summer. She asked the council to consider a price break for those with multiple children.
Debra Rose, head of the city's library and recreation department, said the new theme camp will be worth the price, which is less than most other summer programs charge. Each week will be built around a theme, such as animals, she said. All activities will be centered on that theme. Final decisions on themes have not been made.
Although the camp is designed to be fun, Rose said the goal is to have kids learn something.
"The ideal is that they don't even notice they've acquired new knowledge," Rose said.
Reach Anne Lindberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8450.