Hardy Plumbing
May 17, 2006

Carousel Fare Raised?



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Independent / Lisa Finn Tiny residents won't have to worry about cost-prohibitive ponies. (click for larger version)
Visitors to the Village of Greenport may soon have to pony up a bit more for the opportunity to grab for the brass ring on the carousel or to take a spin on the village ice rink in Mitchell Park.

Greenport Mayor David Kapell announced at last Thursday's work session that he was contemplating raising prices for both the ice rink and the carousel.

Since the carousel first began spinning 12 years ago, said Kapell, rates have remained steady: $1 a ride, across the board.

The village has made a bundle at the races on the brightly painted, hand carved horses — originally estimated to bring in only $15,000 a year, eager riders have generated approximately $135,000 annually. "It's way beyond our wildest dreams," said Kapell.

But as the carousel's popularity has grown, so have operating costs, including the hiring of staff and maintenance expenses. And, since the goal was for the carousel to generate income for Mitchell Park, the mayor has proposed a fare increase.

As for the ice rink, Kapell said that when it opened a year ago, the village board had no experience regarding how to set prices, other than information they'd gleaned from ice rinks in other areas. With adults charged $5 and children $3 for an entire day of skating, the ice rink did not break even this year. "The ice rink should be completely self-sufficient," said Kapell. "Mitchell Park was built and designed to be completely self-sustained."

To that end, the mayor suggested raising prices, but not for area residents. Those who can prove residency, as well as any child attending Greenport or Oysterponds schools, will continue to pay the same rates. "The problem is that for some families, even $1 is a problem," said Kapell, adding that he wanted residents and children to be able to continue to enjoy the carousel and ice rink.

The vast majority of riders and skaters, however, are from out of the area, with 90% of crowds witnessed on weekends and school holidays. "It's appropriate and fair that they should contribute to the maintenance of the park," said Kapell, by paying what he promised would be a "modest increase."

The question raised was how to ensure residency. Showing a library card, the board agreed, would serve a dual purpose: to establish residency, and "drive more people to the library."

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