Levy Court OKs rec center plan to rent out fields, basketball courts

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Kent County Recreation Center rental fees: *Rec. Center courts – 1 court ($75 per hour); 2 courts ($125 per hour); 3 courts ($175 per hour); 4 courts ($225 per hour). *Rec. Center courts additional hour discount – 1 hour (10 percent); 2 hours (15 percent); 3 hours (20 percent); 4 or more hours (25 percent). *Turf Field (minimum of two hours includes 10 minute clean up time at end) – Full field only ($100 per hour); Lights ($50 per hour). *Turf Field additional hours discount – 1 hour (10 percent); 2 hours (15 percent); 3 hours (20 percent); 4 or more hours (25 percent).

DOVER — The director of Community Services for Kent County told Levy Court members Tuesday there can never be enough athletic fields available for the community to use.

The director, Jeremy Sheppard, said that’s why the Kent County Recreation Center made a proposal to make its outdoor turf field and its basketball courts available for rental whenever the fields are free from its own sports programming and activity with the Boys and Girls Club.

Rental of a court will cost $75 per hour and use of the turf field $100 per hour with discounts for additional hours.

The recreation center’s proposal was approved in a 5-0 unanimous vote at Tuesday night’s Kent County Levy Court meeting at the Kent County Administrative Complex.

“This will allow for rentals of both our indoor basketball courts in the new Recreation Center and the outdoor turf field,” Mr. Sheppard said. “Each one of them has an hourly fee and other percentages that will give people discounts for multiple hour rentals.

“Availability of time to rent will be limited. Is there interest for rentals? Absolutely. There’s a large interest for rentals,” he added.

Mr. Sheppard said the Kent County Recreation Center has gotten a large number of requests for renting the outdoor turf field from youth soccer, college teams and high schools from around the area.

He added that having the fee measure pass should make things a lot simpler for the facility when it comes to providing rentals.

“It’s now in the ordinance, which means we now have a fee schedule that we can present to everybody when they come and ask us about the fields,” Mr. Sheppard said. “Someone will say, ‘I need the outdoor field for two hours on Saturday, Sept. 20.’ Now we can tell them what the price is and they can then go through the process of renting the field.”

The key to the rentals will be availability as Mr. Sheppard insisted that people participating in Kent County programs on the field and courts will always have priority.

He said he’s not quite sure how much time will be available for others to rent the field and courts each week and that it could vary from week to week.

“We don’t like to use the phrase ‘First come, first served,’ because it doesn’t accurately depict what happens,” said Mr. Sheppard. “There’s a process that people will have to go through in order to do the rentals. We have an application process, people apply, they put down the money for rental with a security deposit and then we’ll process the permit.

“It really is very exciting. First and foremost, of course, we want to try to run our Kent County programming and we also have a partner out there with the Boys and Girls Club, so we have lots of stuff, but whenever stuff is left over in the matrix of our schedule then we are certainly willing to rent it.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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