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Some Upset Over Denver’s New 3-Tier Rec Center System

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A man lifting weights at a Denver rec center (credit: CBS)

A man lifting weights at a Denver rec center (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver City Council has restructured its fees at recreation centers. A new three-tier system goes into effect Sept. 1.

Because of the change the city is not currently selling new 1-year or 6-month memberships and users can only renew a 3-month membership. That has some long-time users angry.

Gerri Tinianow goes to the Montclair Rec Center every day.

“I use the gym and the pool; the weight room and the pool I should say,” Tinianow said.

On Sept. 1 Tinianow’s membership at a regional center like Montclair will cost $369. That’s almost twice as much as the $190 she paid last year. She tried to secure her membership at the lower rate by renewing now before the new fees take effect, but the city wouldn’t allow it.

“We decided to limit the purchase of 3-month memberships so that we’d minimize the impact in our system of having two different memberships in place at the same time,” said Dody Erickson, Denver Parks and Recreation Manager.

The 3-month memberships are the only option available. The city suspended sales of 1-year and 6-month access as well as renewals.

“There are also some benefits added to the new fees — fitness classes are included with the new memberships — so we wanted to get everyone on board with the memberships as quickly as we could,” Erickson said.

“As soon as my card expires, I’ll be gone,” Tinianow said.

Tinianow said she’s not the only one who’s mad. She feels she can get a cheaper membership somewhere else.

“Everyone is rethinking it. Out of the 15 people that work out with me in the morning, none of them will be here,” Tinianow said.

Denver rec centers are popular, but the city does expect to lose some residents to the fee increases. They project 4 percent, but Tinianow feels it will be much higher.

“We’ll be monitoring our sale of memberships as well as revenue projections on a monthly basis,” Erickson said. “If we have to make any adjustments to our fees or marketing for new members, we’ll certainly implement those as time will tell.”

The city says there are scholarship programs for those who can’t afford the higher rates.

Tinianow feels that a city rec center supported by tax dollars should be accessible to everyone.

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