I know in VA, where I used to work, we had to pay a fee for the park as well as a % of our profits. We also had to prove that we had a business license to operate in the state/county (an additional yearly fee), that we had liability insurance, and were CPR certified. For those fees, the city regulated how many of us could use the park, where in the park we could occupy and what park services we could use. They also allowed us to advertise for free in any park and rec distributions.
While it did increase what I had to pay for fees, it also reduced my competition, as others didn’t want to go through the work “hassel”. So I did reap some of the benefits from reduced competition.
That’s a tough debate. I will say, if some of the groups are using full gym equipment outside and impeding others who enjoy the park or destroying some of the park services (grass, trees, etc) as the article suggests, then they should be reimbursing someone or maybe an ordinence regarding what equipment can be used on public lands. We all know you can get in a great workout without complicated equipment.
after having read the article, I was asking myself how I would feel if the same situation existed at the park where I go with my dog pretty much every day. Here, I see a few smaller groups who are clearly under the direction of a trainer, doing yoga, stroller strides or other form of group fitness. There are a few here and there, almost nobody during the week, and those few I enjoy watching. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), our park does not have a commanding view onto anything except a few tress, no vista, panorama, or spectacular sunrises or sunsets.
The scenario in the article is a lot different. I can see the need by the city to mandate that trainers have insurance, business licences, CPR etc. I also understand the extra cost if indeed the parks are damaged through the above normal use.
As is often the case, one trainer tries to outdo the others, things get out of hand, and the few culprits mess up the fun for everybody. And I see the need for balance for those who want to enjoy the venue quietly by themselves. After all, everybody pays city fees and taxes for parks, and they should be for everybody’s enjoyment.
I am glad that I am not the one who is in charge of making a decision. I don’t think there will be one that people would consider win-win.
Great debate, though, Susan.
It’s a difficult situation.
Parks are frequently used for marathons, flash mobs, weddings. I just don’t see how a happy medium is going to be achieved.
I do believe that if a personal trainer and the groups of people he/she brings to the park to train damage public property and it results in a costs to the city, some type of fee should be charged simply for maintenance of the grounds.
Great question..after reading the article, what has come to my attention is:
420 acres is a vast area for outdoor involvement with a dozen or more groups, seems like there is plenty of space available for all.
However, it sounds like it has gotten out of hand. Obviously the view and weather can be spectacular based on its popularity and surely it is less expensive than a brick and mortar building.
If the instructors business license, permits, insurance and all required fees are valid, then they have the right to function at the park based on the city’s requirements (quite cheaply I might add).
So the city has to examine the “beast” that has been created. Some possibilites could be:
“Designated specific space/s” for those classes to avoid impeding on other people, family, children, pets and events that are there to enjoy a peacful day at the park.
“Limit days and times” of the week in which classes and class types can be held.
“Raise the fees”/not regulate gross income: include in those fees park specific business types and charge according to their environmental impact to the park with specific limitations of what can and cannot be used in the park ie: trees, benches etc., to perform any exercise on. Trainer’s must supply their own equipment.
“Fines”: Levy stiff fines for those who don’t comply.
Any final decision the city will make will not please everyone nonetheless, it sounds like it has to be done and i’m sure the “majority” of parks users will be happier.
Hello Susan D’Alonzo,
Doesn’t everyone in the park exercise?
I believe there are many ways to take care of these issues as the article explains. Every county will have to come up with their own rules and be sure to enforce those rules.
I also do not believe that cumbersome equipment needs to be out there, either. Part of the fun is making do with what we have and using as little equipment as possible to have a non-gym workout.
If someone wants the gym experience, maybe they should go to the gym.
If the clients want the outdoor park experience, they will have to respect the resources just like the rest of us.
So, we have the gym workout and the park workout, which should be very different, anyway.