When it comes to who has the most competitive community center membership rates in the Northland, exactly where do the new Platte County Community Centers rank?
This week The Landmark put the numbers to the test, as the newspaper placed phone calls to two other Northland area community centers.
The Platte County Community Centers, which will be staffed and operated by the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, recently began their membership drive offering residents a discount on the monthly fees.
Membership fees per month for Platte County residents at the Platte County centers are: family $68.40, individual $45.90, senior family $60.30, senior individual $39.60, and teen $20.70. Rates for non-residents are slightly higher.
The centers will feature a wellness center, indoor gymnasium, indoor family aquatics center, indoor walking track, indoor and outdoor playground equipment, locker rooms and a lounge. Both centers will provide programs such as aerobics, yoga, palates and more to their members.
The 29,000 square foot Northland facility, at 3101 Running Horse Road in Platte City, is slated to open at the end of October. The 53,000 square foot southern facility, 8875 Clark Ave., Parkville, will open in January 2005.
Both facilities are being built with funds from Platte County’s half cent sales tax for parks and recreation.
Just 20 minutes away of Platte City, Northland residents can find membership fees on the opposite end of the spectrum.
At the 96,000 square foot North Kansas City Community Center, 1999 Iron, North Kansas City, Mo., rates for both residents of North Kansas City and non-residents are considerably lower than those of the Platte County centers.
Monthly rates at the North Kansas City Center for residents in the city limits of North Kansas City are: family $43, adult $24, senior $16, and youth $16. Non-resident rates are: family $53, adult $29, senior $18, and youth $18.
The community center, which is operated by the City of North Kansas City, opened in December of 2001.
The membership includes entrance into the 6,479 square foot aquatics area (lap swimming, leisure pool with a slide, vortex, bubble couch and a lazy river), on-deck warm water spa, steam room and sauna; fitness area; suspended walking track, three-basketball/four-volleyball courts, 25 foot climbing wall, locker rooms, three meeting rooms, child watch area, senior area, arts and crafts classroom, technical classroom, and game room.
The community center also offers classes including: aerobics, palates, yoga and more. The center is staffed by 10 full-time and 100 part-time employees.
The $13.5 million facility is an enterprise operation funded by 65% self-supporting funds and 35% from the community center endowment fund.
According to Greg Hansen, director of the North Kansas City Community Center, gaming revenue went toward the construction of the center.
“We’re unique on how we’re set up,” stated Hansen. “There’s no tax levy, and no bonds. All the tax money used to construct the facility was saved by the city.”
The North Kansas City Community Center between Oct. 3, 2003-Sept. 1, 2004 has a membership base of 12,790. Hansen stated the center has a 93% membership retention rate, and gained 3,129 new members during that same period.
The facility operates Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sunday, noon-8 p.m.
Hansen stated there’s one main difference between the Platte County Community Centers and the center in Northtown.
“We don’t receive any parks and recreation funding, so it doesn’t really match up comparing one center to the other. It’s not comparing apples to apples,” said Hansen.
In Liberty, the same situation holds true.
According to Donna Taylor, Liberty Community Center manager, the city owned Liberty Community Center, 1600 S. Withers Road, has an operation budget funded by 88% user fees and 12% funded by a 1/4 cent sales tax.
With the majority of the operation budget coming from membership fees, expectations of higher rates are shattered when people go to join the facility.
Taylor, who stated the memberships are usually sold as annual, summer or daily packages, agreed to break down the numbers on a monthly basis.
Rates at the Liberty Community Center for members who reside inside the city limits of Liberty are: family $31.67, individual $15.83, senior (60 and over) $12.92, and youth $10.83. Non-residents are: family $47.50, individual $23.75, senior $19.17, and youth $16.25.
Membership fees include access to four pools (two indoor/two outdoor), basketball court, fitness center, game room (video games, pool, air hockey, and ping pong), locker rooms, three meeting rooms, and a 700 seat performance arts theater.
The center offers an average of 25-30 parks programs a year including: kids and adult dance, swim lessons, aerobics, golf and dog obedience.
The original $5.6 million facility was constructed in 1992, with a $2.4 million, 6,000 square foot expansion added in 2003.
The facility employs 14 full-time staff and an average of 50-60 part-time staff.
Taylor stated the center maintains 2,500 annual pass units, 700 summer pass units and an average of 25-30,000 daily pass sales.