Rotary Gardens to charge fee
The board for years has dealt with a budget deficit but has been successful in avoiding an admission fee for almost 20 years now, said Sally Edelman, chairman of the board.
“This was a very difficult decision for the board, but one that has been discussed often,” she said.
Mark Dwyer, director of horticulture, said people just assumed the gardens were free instead of admission by donation. He said he often saw people walk by the donation tubes without donating.
Instead, fund drives, rental fees, cutting costs and volunteers held the budget together.
But board members cannot keep up with rising costs and cannot expect the same people and businesses to continue bailing them out, Edelman said.
Edelman noted that the Tallman House charges admission and receives a city subsidy, and the proposed children’s museum also would charge admission and depend on a city subsidy.
“We were always told there was no citizen money available for us,” Edelman said.
“If that’s wrong and (the city can) fund the garden, we would reconsider (the admission fee),” she said.
Admission should generate about $78,000 and fill perhaps 60 percent of the operating budget deficit, she said.
Free days would be scheduled, and volunteers could earn a membership. The fee on prom night would be $2.