EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSFees To Hit Charleston Walks And Runs
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported: Apr. 18, 2014 10:48 PM EDT
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katy Brown) -- Throughout the year, Charleston is home to several major runs and walks.
City leaders said they've already heard rumblings from some event planners worried about fees they now have to pay.
But officials said this money is not just wanted by the city, it is needed.
"It's not a free thing or a simple thing for the, on the part of the city," said David Molgaard, Charleston's city manager.
Molgaard said up until now in order to hold a walk or run in Charleston, all organizers had to do was just ask. It was free.
But for the city it was more like $2,200 just to close down Kanawha Blvd..
And this money organizers pay does not reach city pockets, but instead goes to city workers.
"We have to bring in off duty police officers. We have to bring in street department personnel on their days off," said Molgaard, "pay these folks overtime to put on these races safely."
Now the city offers two choices if you want to hold a race in Charleston.
If you pay $500, you get the choice of a 5k route through Kanawha City or Charleston's East End. If you pay $2,200, the city closes the Kanawha Blvd. for your race.
For years the city has worked the cost of these races into their budget, but now it's just too expensive.
"We've have to reach into our stabilization fund to the tune of $1.1 million and our revenues haven't picked up like they thought they would even as we get towards the end of this fiscal year," said Molgaard.
Some event organizers contacted the city, worried they cannot afford the cost of their 2014 run or walk.
But the city has worked out a plan. If you held a race or walk in Charleston in 2013, your fees for this year are waived.
"It's going to be very difficult to say no to future races or to additional races if we're getting our costs covered. There would be no reason to say no," said Molgaard. "And that would allow us to have more of these races and to make sure that these races stay in Charleston in the future."
Mayor Danny Jones said he expects fireworks at the next city council meeting.
City officials suggest if you are worried about the fees attend the 7pm meeting this coming Monday to ask questions or express your concerns.
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