For as long as I can remember, the Rec Center has always been free and the first 7 weeks at the new one were free too.
Now there are memberships
The City of Fort Walton Beach breaks their membership down into the following options:
- Senior Couples
These are also organized by City Resident or Non-City Resident, with prices that reflect each:
[blocktext heading=”City Residents:” class=””]
- Single, $100/year or $10/month
- Family, $150/year or $15/month
- Senior (60 and up), $60/year or $7/month
- Senior couple, $100/year or $10/month
- Youth (17 and under), $40/year or $5/month
[blocktext heading=”Non-City Residents:” class=”orange”]
- Single, $200/year or $20/month
- Family, $250/year or $25/month
- Senior (60 and up), $120/year or $15/month
- Senior couple, $200/year or $20/month
- Youth, $75/year or $7.50/month
Three-month membership (resident and non-resident):
- Single, $60
- Family, $100
Locals Take To Facebook To Weigh In On The New Membership
On August 5, 2015, David Schmidt of Financial Storehouse posted this on Facebook:
David is a former high school athlete and advocate for youth athletics.
This started an ongoing discussion…
“Scholarships or sponsors for teens that can’t afford to pay for a membership”
“Get someone to donate membership to the people 18 and under”
“I will sponsor 20 memberships”
“I thought the whole idea was to consolidate the properties to save the city money…seems to me like it was to eliminate people from use of these things to me”
“…if a youth can show an updated progress report or report card with a 2.5 or higher they get free access”
So if the family of a child (Youth) does not have the means to afford the monthly membership, what are the options?
The City of Fort Walton Beach has roughly $4,000 in grant money that will cover 100 scholarships for kids in need.
There is a form that you must fill out to apply for this scholarship. As of August 6, 2015, this application is being revised by the City but should be completed soon.
But The Idea of Sponsorships Is What The Conversation Was Really About
I spoke with the Joanna Soria, PIO for the City of Fort Walton Beach, and she told me that at this time of this writing, no one has applied for the scholarship.
She went on to say that the City strongly believes that “everyone plays”, and assured me that no Youth would be turned away if they could not immediately pay for a membership.
But what if all 100 scholarships are used?
Individuals or Businesses interested in sponsoring Youth Memberships can be placed on the City’s “standby” list if additional funds are needed.