Nearly 160,000 runners participated in 72 races in Kansas City last year. As the sport becomes more and more popular, the events just aren’t covering their costs to the city.
That’s the conclusion of parks officials and race coordinators, who are recommending increased permit fees and better communication to the community.
The City Council is to vote Thursday on a plan to change the flat $100 application fee for all events, with the most significant increase beginning Jan. 1, 2016.
The current $100 fee “was just too low,” said David Steffano, partner with Evenergy, which manages races for Kansas City’s parks department.
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Steffano told the council’s finance committee the permit fee didn’t cover the costs of coordinating the plethora of races now occurring in the city, and Kansas City trails many other cities that have adjusted their fees.
Under the plan, Kansas City would retain the $100 fee this year if applications are submitted 90 days before the event deadline. But fees would increase for late applications, growing to $300 for applications filed within 30 days of an event.
Beginning in 2016, fees would range from $300 to $4,000, based on the number of participants and length of the race. Those new permit fees should generate about $60,000 to $65,000 per year, which would cover the race coordination costs. Additional costs, such as police and trash pickup services, are covered race by race by the event organizers.
Jenny Chronister, Kansas City race manager with Evenergy, said she did extensive outreach to race organizations and listened to their concerns before the permit fee structure was finalized. Parks officials said they were not worried about an exodus of races from the city because of the fee increase.
Daveron Kennedy, assistant events director with the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission, told the committee that her organization had been concerned about an initial plan to charge $1 per participant for the Kansas City marathon, which would have involved a fee of $10,000 to $12,000. But she said the agency can live with a $4,000 permit fee for the marathon.
The measure also requires approved signage to make it easier for the public to identify and understand race locations, adds guidelines for a cleanup plan and improves coordination with the Metro bus system.