Visitors to Scott County parks and trails next year can expect to pay a bit more if they want to walk their dog, ride their horse or rent a paddleboard during their visit.
But major renovations will be unveiled at two regional parks, and new projects will kick off elsewhere.
The parks and trails system, which operates in partnership with the Three Rivers Park District, will charge a dollar more for horse trail use, pet exercise passes and boat trailer parking and will add a dollar to each half-hour of summer equipment rental — $10 instead of $9 for that paddle board. Sales tax will be added on top of those fees.
The changes are part of the Three Rivers-Scott County 2016 budget, which passed unanimously and without fanfare Tuesday at a joint meeting of the county and park boards. The $2.1 million budget is up about $86,000 from 2015 — most of it focused on maintaining what’s already in place. About $18,000 in new revenue is expected to come from fee increases, and the county is kicking in $100,000 more than it did last year.
Two regional parks, Cleary Lake and Cedar Lake Farm, will have grand openings in 2016 after extensive renovations that include new trails, golf course upgrades and fixes to a century-old barn.
Next year will also bring expanded community outreach efforts. There are already community programs at local schools and libraries, and 2016 will bring programming to tiny Elko New Market.
Officials are also looking for ways to coordinate park services with the county’s public health department, said Patricia Freeman, Scott County parks and trails general manager.
“We’re trying to figure out, is there a way to deliver these services to make a difference?” she said.