Fees For Travis County Parks Change
By Carli Rappaport
AUSTIN – Instead of paying per vehicle, Travis County Parks will now make individuals pay per person.
Drew Pickle, the West District Manager for Travis County Parks, said this move will help with data collection.
“Part of the reason for the importance of that is not only to help us understand how many people are visiting. Then we can decide long-term maintenance, long term repair, because then we know the number of people using the facility,” Pickle said.
The new fee will be five dollars a person for Arkansas Bend, Bob Wentz, Cypress Creek, Loop, Mansfield Dam, Milton Reimers Ranch, Pace Bend, Sandy Creek, and Tom Hughes parks.
Park attendee German Gonzalez said he didn’t know about the new rates.
“Compared with our public parks that are free, it’s expensive. But considering the place and the view and everything, well you could probably pay a little more to come here,” Gonzalez said.
At the Loop 360 Boat Ramp, park goers could previously walk on individually for a $3 fee. That fee rose to $5.
“They are trying to limit access here by increasing the price, to make it a little bit more easy for personal users,” Austin Campbell, a boat captain for Keep Austin Wet, said.
Even though the state increased the price, Campbell says boat rental owners are the ones suffering from customer complaints.
“It’s kind of put some pressure on the industry now, you know individual owners who are just starting out are feeling a little bit more of that burden cause they are increasingly having to, you know, maybe absorb that cost from the consumers to keep them happy,” Campbell said.
Cambell said the cost adds up.
“Ya know, I took out 11 customers today, so we’re talking about $55 extra onto the taxes that they are already paying, onto the price they are paying for the boat.”
Pickle says the costs will actually make it cheaper for some individuals, and lead to more park renovations in the future.
“12 and under is free and 62 and older is eligible for a discounted fee of $3, or if they are an annual pass holder they will continue to be able to come to the park for free,” Pickle said. “It’s about making it more applicable to each individual. So they can choose how they want to engage in our fee structure.”