By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
RIVERVIEW – City Council members unanimously approved a rental agreement with the newly formed Pirate Wrestling Club, an organized program for 5- to 13-year-olds, after receiving clarification at the pre-council study session.
The proposed agreement lets the club use the Community Center on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings, and will reimburse the city $15 per participant to offset facility expenses such as lost Friday evening rentals and additional cleaning prior to Saturday rentals.
At the study session, City Attorney Joseph Couveur confirmed for Councilman James Trombley that the newly formed group was granted tax exempt status by the state.
Recreation Director Todd Dickman said the city did not take non-profit status into account when determining the fee a group is charged for the use of city facilities.
“We just looked at that they were providing a program for the youth in the community,” Dickman said. “It was not looked at whether they were a 501(c)(3) or not.”
Trombley asked if children from other cities would be allowed to participate in the club.
Dickman said most of the participants will be Riverview residents, or children who attend Riverview schools through the state Schools of Choice program.
Trombley asked if most of the participants now go to Lincoln Park to participate in the club, which Dickman confirmed. He said 80 to 90 percent of the participants will be Riverview children.
Trombley asked who would be watching the group while they are in the Community Center, since the city recently spent $100,000 on building work.
“Is there going to be somebody there while they are there, or is it just a free-for-all?” Trombley asked.
Dickman said the building would be checked by a city employee the morning following use, and the building has a video surveillance system. He said he had not anticipated having an employee on-site when the club is on-site.
Trombley said an employee presence was what he thought the $15 fee would cover, “so they don’t tear the place up.”
Dickman said discussions with the club assured him that they will respect the building. He said that even though the group will clean up after themselves, he will have employees clean before rentals to assure that standards are met. He said he anticipates 30 to 35 children will participate in the club.
Mayor Andrew Swift reminded Trombley that if a program is promoted through the city schools, some of the participants will not be Riverview residents if they attend the schools through the Schools of Choice program.
Trombley said his concern was the $15 participation cost.
“Riverview residents pay taxes,” Trombley said. “Fifteen dollars, I didn’t know what it was going for, because if there is nobody sitting there, the only thing that I can think of that it is going for would be heat and lights.”
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])