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updated: 4/28/2011 10:50 AM

Antioch considering eliminating nonresident fees for park programs

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By Abby Scalf

Antioch will consider eliminating its nonresident fee to join park department programs to increase participation and offer an alternative to residents in Lake Villa where park programs were eliminated due to budget woes.

Mike Kudla, Antioch's director of recreation, said nonresidents who register to join park programs now pay an additional $5 registration fee per program compared to residents.

Kudla said the process to review fees began when Antioch was approached by Lake Villa Mayor Frank Loffredo after his village eliminated recreation department programs last December. He said Loffredo was anxious to offer residents another option.

"The problem is we're inviting them to come in and then tell them 'you're a nonresident and you have to pay a nonresident fee,'" Kudla told the Antioch parks committee Wednesday.

Lake Villa parks and recreation department programs and classes were funded entirely by participation fees that weren't enough to cover costs. Classes such as dance, exercise and karate were discontinued, but village parks remain open.

By eliminating the nonresident fee, Kudla said, Antioch will bring in additional revenue by increasing program participation.

"There are many programs where they do not receive the minimum participation so classes must be canceled," he said. "And there are other programs where there is plenty of room and can use more people."

Kudla added the amount the Antioch parks department has received in nonresident fees was minimal, about $500.

Kudla said Antioch residents will still receive priority registration for the park department's popular programs, which are day camp, swim lessons and preschool.

Park Commission member Jerry Johnson, who devoted time to the Lake Villa parks and recreation committee, said there are many Lake Villa residents who have nowhere to go.

"I think this is a good opportunity for us to take advantage of this and open ourselves to a new group of people and vast amount of people to fill these programs," Johnson said.

To publicize programs to Lake Villa residents, Kudla said a link would be provided on Lake Villa's website to the parks brochure, and a newsletter could be provided to Lake Villa-area schools.

Receiving unanimous approval by the parks committee, the proposal will go before the Antioch village board's committee of the whole next month. Kudla said because the current fee structure has been printed in the spring/summer brochure, the change if approved would go into effect Sept. 1 as part of the fall brochure.