Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Writers group feels pinched by Largo fee increase

LARGO — The city raised recreation fees for everything from pool use to room rental earlier this year in hopes the added revenue could offset impending budget cuts.

For the most part, said parks director Joan Byrne, the fees have been met with minimal public complaint and bring Largo's fees in line with other nearby cities.

But for one Pinellas nonprofit organization, which will soon be charged twice as much ($20, from $10 per hour) to rent a room for its weekly meetings at the Highland Recreation Center, the new fees may mean leaving Largo in favor of another venue.

Or worse yet, said Pete Kaszyk, president of the Pinellas Authors and Writers Organization, shutting down a 23-year-old club.

"It would really be a shame to have us disband because we can't afford the rent," Kaszyk said.

The writers organization, which has more than 120 members, uses Highland Rec Center for weekly workshops, where writers from around the county share their work and discuss the literary arts.

Kaszyk said the group, which charges a $25 annual membership, has been using the Largo facility for 19 years — and many members have limited financial wiggle room. The site was chosen because of its central location, since group members are from all parts of Pinellas.

"A lot of them are senior citizens on a fixed income. Doubling their dues is, well, I'm sure we're going to lose a lot of members by doing that," he said.

At Tuesday's City Commission meeting, several members attended to ask city leaders to rescind the increase.

Byrne said that while she takes no pleasure in charging more to use city facilities, Largo's fees have been lower than average until now.

"We were underpriced for a long time," she said. "We are really not trying to gouge anybody. But given the constraints we're under, it's close the rec center or increase revenue."

Kaszyk said he is searching for alternative but is coming up short of finding a suitable site.

"We've looked at libraries," he said. "But they're not going to commit for a whole year. We've talked to churches. We don't want to travel to different ends of the county."

Other groups, like local swim teams, also have faced fee increases recently.

Youth swim team membership fees increased from $15 per season to $6 per month, plus a yearly fee of $10.

Still, Byrne said, the rate is competitive, and swimmers still continue to use the pool.

"We would understand if they wanted to move someplace else," she said, "but I don't think they would find a better deal."

Dominick Tao can be reached at or (727) 580-2951.

Writers group feels pinched by Largo fee increase 08/21/10 [Last modified: Saturday, August 21, 2010 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 10 sailors missing, 5 hurt in collision of USS John S. McCain

    SEOUL —Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five have been injured after the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore early Monday morning.

    In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain patrols in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region. The guided-missile destroyer collided with a merchant ship on Monday, Aug. 21, in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. Ten sailors were missing, and five were injured, the Navy said. [James Vazquez/U.S. Navy via AP]
  2. Pasco County Fire Rescue fighting a two-alarm fire started by an explosion


    Two houses are on fire and one victim has been critically burned and taken to a trauma center following an explosion at a home at 8652 Velvet Dr, in Port Richey.

  3. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  4. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  5. Tampa man turns himself in for Sunday hit and run fatality

    Public Safety

    A Tampa man was arrested early Sunday after he struck and killed a pedestrian, left the scene, and then called 911 to turn himself in.