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Park board approves Merkel complex use fees

Thu., Oct. 7, 2010

Fees for users of the new Merkel Sports Complex were approved by the Spokane Park Board on Sept. 9. The fee scale came together after a public meeting at the Finch Arboretum.

At Merkel, an adult softball game with lights will cost $26.25. At Franklin Park the fee will be $22.

Without lights, a game at Merkel will run $18.75; $14.75 at Franklin Park.

At Merkel, a Spokane Public Schools’ or youth baseball or softball game will cost $22.50 with lights – or $18.50 at Franklin Park. Without lights, a game will be $15 at Merkel and $11 at Franklin.

At Merkel, an adult soccer game with lights will cost $65 an hour, or $55 without lights. Youth teams can play for $55 an hour with lights, and $45 an hour without lights.

Practice fees are the same as game fees.

Craig Butz, recreation and entertainment division director for the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department, said the fees are based on a desire for the Merkel Complex to pay for itself.

“We listened to all the user groups at the Finch Arboretum meeting and got all their input,” Butz said. “We may come up with a different structure for next season.”

Things are a little different at Spokane County’s Plantes Ferry Park. Where Merkel features five lighted softball fields and two lighted synthetic turf soccer fields for night games, there are no lights at Plantes Ferry Park.

Judy Potter, with the county’s parks, recreation and golf department, said that anyone can use a field at Plantes Ferry if they are lucky enough to find it vacant.

“We have a huge softball league. This summer it had 367 teams,” said Potter. “That’s a lot of people and a lot of games.” It also means that fields at Plantes Ferry aren’t rented out the way they are at Merkel, because they’re simply too busy.

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