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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 3 years ago

City to subsidize skate park operator

by: Wayne Grant Real Estate Editor



The company has ended fights, smoking, other problems at the popular park.

Wayne Grant

News Editor

The City Commission has agreed to pay $900 per month to keep Birdstown Surf and Skate, of New Smyrna Beach, operating the Nova Skate Court Concession Stand at Nova Community Park, 440 N. Nova Road.

A report to the officials from the city’s Leisure Services Dept. stated the company is losing money and cannot continue the contract. The company said they did not make enough money to even pay the workers minimum wage to run the concession.

Since last March, when the company started running the concession, the park has become much more family-friendly, according to the report, and the Leisure Service Dept. has requested that the city subsidize the company to keep them running the operation.

The item was in consent agenda, where several items are approved in bulk without discussion. There were no comments from the commissioners, and it was approved unanimously with Commissioner Rick Boehm absent at the Nov. 2 meeting.

The report stated that prior to the onsite supervision provided by Birdstown, the skate court was not always considered a family-friendly place. There was “a tendency for foul language, vandalism, rough-housing, fights, smoking and even drug use.”

There has been a change since Birdstown took over, the report said. The company mentors the children and provides user guidelines which do not allow foul language, smoking, littering and truancy.

Birdstown has gained the respect of the skaters in the park, resulting in a respectful atmosphere, according to the report, and proper etiquette and courtesy are required.

Birdstown, which sells food and concessions and rents and sells equipment, was the only bidder when a request for proposals for skate park management went out last February. In the contract negotiated with the city, the company agreed to pay the city $1 per year. There was also an agreement that the company could terminate the agreement if the arrangement was not profitable after Dec. 31, 2015, with 60 days written notice.

Birdstown has informed the city monthly since the contract began that they have been losing money and the concession stand was not sustainable.

The new agreement calls for a two-year term with a $900 per month subsidy.

The report by the Leisure Services Dept. suggested that the city could pay the $900 per month rather than replace a part-time worker at the Senior Center, so there would be no budget impact. There has been a lack of rentals and cross training by Performing Arts Center employees so replacing the worker is not urgent.

Birdstown originally requested a subsidy to run the concession, but the city had not budgeted any money, so an agreement was made that Birdstown would run the concession with an option to end the contract if it was not profitable.

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