PORTAGE | The Portage Park Board this week approved the restructuring of hall rental fees and approved the hiring of an individual to help market the facilities.
Park Superintendent Jenny Orsburn said the changes were recommended to reflect how people are using the facilities.
One change is that instead of renting the Oakwood Grand Hall or Sycamore, Blue Spruce or Hickory Hollow rooms for a few hours, halls will now be rented for a minimum of seven hours at a time, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 5 p.m. to midnight.
Rates will be broken into weekday or weekend usage rates as well as resident and non-resident rates. Discounts will also be offered to groups who rent a facility on a regular basis.
Orsburn said the present system offered a variety of rates with several variables in determining how much rent is paid for the use of a hall. The effort, she said, is to streamline the rental process both for park employees and the public. She added that they also hope to rent the facilities on a more frequent basis.
Orsburn said they have also changed the cancellation and refund policies and will require a 25 percent non-refundable deposit on hall rentals. She said the rates are comparable to other public and private venues.
The board also approved, on a 4-1 vote, the hiring of Empowerment Business Solutions as a public relations and marketing consultant to assist in marketing the rental venues.
Laurie Wilkie, who also works as a consultant for the city, will be paid $20 per hour for the services, which will also include facilitating a volunteer program in the department. She will be paid from the non-reverting fund. Orsburn said she has budgeted $10,000 for the services.
Member Debra Ekdahl objected to the contract, saying she had not had a change to review the contract or research the company or Wilkie.