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POLL: Falls City Council Will Make Final Decision on Natatorium Rate Change Issue

In the coming weeks, the council will decide on whether or not to change the Nat's membership rate structure to include non-traditional families. Where do you stand?

 

On Thursday night, the voted 3-2 against a motion raised by chairman Tim Gorbach to change the “w/spouse” rates.

If the motion had passed, the current "w/spouse" rate would have changed to a "w/partner" rate, opening the memberships up to "two persons that are legally married, or are domestic partners, or are in a civil union as recognized by any U.S. jurisdiciton," said Gorbach.

Under the current rate policy, the Nat only allows married men and women who are recognized by the Ohio Constitution to receive discounted memberships.

The second part of his motion called for a “head of household” rate structure to take effect by June 1 of this year, meaning that rates would be set solely on the number of people who reside in any given Cuyahoga Falls household.

“Maybe we need to look at our rates that have been in place for 50 years and maybe change with the times a little bit," he said. “I was hoping we could (recognize non-traditional families), but that didn’t happen.”

Next Steps

According to Cuyahoga Falls Ward 5 City Councilwoman Diana Colavecchio, the council will now engage in a potential two-step process to either keep the rate structure as is, or change it, she said during Thursday night’s meeting.

In the coming weeks, the council could choose to “usurp” the park board’s authority and create an ordinance to change the rate policy.

If the ordinance is approved, the next step is creating an ad hoc committee to analyze the current rate policy, various statistics and data and gleam information from neighboring gyms.

With that, the committee would write a recommendation on how to restructure the Nat’s rate policies, and the council would either approve or reject it.

Public, City Leader Reactions

During the public comments portion of the meeting, Broadman Baptist Church Pastor Chris McCombs publicly opposed the rate change, saying the community has “been sucked into a social agenda here.”

McCombs said the social institution of marriage is intended for procreation, creating a family and perpetuating the community. He said it’s an issue based on principle, and that the parks board should abide by the Ohio Constitution.

Following the meeting, Mayor Don Robart said gays are welcome to the gym and that the decision to change rates is more of a financial issue versus a moral one.

“The hit on the city if we opened it up to non-traditional families would be about $50,000,” he said. “Obviously, that’s got to be made up somewhere, so we’d have to raise the rates on everybody else. We know when we raise rates we lose patrons, so that’s the paramount issue.”

The matter of whether or not to change the rate structure was raised by when he and his husband, Coty May, were recently told by Natatorium staff that they were not eligible for the w/spouse discount.

The couple did not attend the meeting, but Shane May offered comments via email after the decision was made.

“I am appalled and ashamed of the three (park board members) who voted against the change, knowing that when given the opportunity to advance the community and show equal treatment towards all citizens, they chose to follow the path of Mayor Robart and oppose equality.

I hope that city council does what a progressive forward thinking city government should do," he wrote.

For many, this issue has come to be about sexuality, politics, equality, religion and/or abiding by traditional norms. Where do you stand and why? After you take the poll, please offer your tactful answer in the comments section below.

Cassidy Phillips March 10, 2012 at 03:28 AM
CHANGE IT. This is 2012 and times are different. Stop being so heartless and closed minded and just CHANGE it.
John Olesky March 10, 2012 at 04:04 PM
The discount should apply to people who live at the same address -- brother and sister, husband and wife, unmarried couples. Period. Then you don't need to get into splitting hairs. Why should two people who are married get a discount that two people who live together for years but are not married don't? Falls says it would lose $48,000. Maybe it would gain some membership from those who don't join because they don't get the discount. Like me.
Shane May March 10, 2012 at 04:46 PM
John. You are exactly right which is why the proposed policy by Mr. Gorbach was to be a "Household" rate instead of the current "Spousal/Family" rate. However the three members opposed to this plan felt the need to throw their own religious beliefs into the decision and it was denied. Individuals sharing the same address would have been able to qualify for a household rate and receive a discount. Imagine all the business The Natatorium would receive if more individuals would qualify for a discount in gym rate? The money lost would definitely be recouped by having more members join.
Adam C. Miller March 13, 2012 at 12:26 PM
It's just a Nat pass...
Wthames May 09, 2012 at 04:46 PM
If you can't afford two passes to the Nat, that's too bad. Just because you are gay doesn't mean you deserve the rights we straight married couples deserve. The Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman! Get over yourselves! Any straight couple denied a discount would have moved on quietly! This is not bullying, it's a policy. DEAL WITH IT!

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