News

Washington County Conservation votes to close on 6 holidays, raise rental fee for 3 others

GTNS photo by Gretchen Teske

The Washington County Conservation Board voted to approve closing the center on six holidays and increasing the rental fee on three others. Those who have previous rental agreements with the center will remain at the cost agreed upon at the time. The new changes will take effect immediately.
GTNS photo by Gretchen Teske The Washington County Conservation Board voted to approve closing the center on six holidays and increasing the rental fee on three others. Those who have previous rental agreements with the center will remain at the cost agreed upon at the time. The new changes will take effect immediately.

AINSWORTH - Visitors to the Washington County Conservation Education Center in Marr Park will find the center closed on six holidays and a different rental fee applied for rentals on Labor Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

The center will be closed Thanksgiving Day, the following day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The current rental fee for a regular day is a $175 deposit and a $175 fee. To have their center coordinator on site during this time, costs the department $360 in wages.

“If we can realign it so we’re still serving the public but also making sure we’re not so far in the red with our rental fee that essentially we’re losing ‘X’ amount of dollars every time our doors are open,” said Washington County Conservation Director Zach Rozmus.

To offset this cost, the board approved a deposit of $225 and $75 an hour for a minimum of three hours for Labor Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. The center will not be open for regular hours during those times, but will be available for rent. Pre-scheduled rentals will operate at the fee agreed upon at the time.

“Essentially we want to say if we do have to have (Center coordinator) Randi (Jenkins) sitting in that chair, hypothetically, for three hours, that we’re not losing already $150 right off the top without benefits because that’s not including what we have to pay her insurance,” he explained.

In other news, Conservation still is hopeful about possibly having a footprint in the Kalona area with the possible voluntary annexation of Shiloh still on the table. Rozmus explained to the board that he and Washington County Conservation Naturalist Pam Holz visited the facility last week and gave a presentation to a group of 40 people about their hopes for the space.

Board member Craig Capps brought up the possibility of putting in campgrounds in the area, but no decisions have been made yet.

The next meeting of the Washington County Conservation Board will be Thursday, June 13, at 4:30 p.m. in the Conservation Education Center.