Rates are increasing for several programs offered by the Fort Riley Outdoor Recreation staff, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
"As we look at MWR across the board, we've had to increase the services and offerings we offer to the community to stay relevant to what everybody wants," said David Roudybush, director, DFMWR. "So, we've seen that across the board when we put in the Adventure Park, we've converted the bowling alley to SpareTime (Interactive Entertainment), we're going to be doing other things like that. With that it means as we do these new offerings we need to adjust our prices to where they should be, because we have been running at a loss. Unfortunately, with the new fiscal reality, if you're running at a loss we're going to have to close the place down."
Army regulation, according to Roudybush, requires services offered to be no lower than 25 percent of the same service offered by off-post businesses.
"An example of that is if somebody outside is charging $100, we cannot charge less than $75," he said. "The problem that has happened, over the last decade, with us not raising our prices -- everybody outside the gate has raised prices as the costs get more expensive. They've kept up with that inflation price, where we haven't. So, we're actually outside of that band now in a lot of cases. This allows us to be able to offer better services but then also brings us back within the regulation guideline and it sets us up for the future so we can continue to do the really cool stuff we're doing now -- i.e. SpareTime (Interactive Entertainment)."
Prices have stayed the same for services on Fort Riley for eight years, Outdoor Recreation division chief, Sarah Mueller, said.
Last week, recreational vehicle owners who have their RV's at that storage lot were advised of one of the changes. Those who have prepaid for their term will not see the change until they renew, Mueller said.
"So, we have a handful of people that have already came out and paid for a year in advance," she said. "And this is why it has to be done effective immediately, because my budget, that I've just currently worked on, needs to show that extra revenue for [Fiscal Year] 20. So there are going to be a handful of people that if they did pay in advance they will not have to pay the new fees until next (year)."
Renting a boat or kayak will also see a fee increase and those wishing to do so will need to go to Outdoor Recreation.
"Our equipment rental is moving down to our old building at 1806 in (Camp) Funston because it's just more efficient and more customer friendly as far as like checking in and checking out," Mueller said.
Renters will still need to provide their Kansas boaters safety card.
The price of renting a boat is also on the rise, Mueller said.
Another change will be at Leisure Travel.
"So, Leisure Travel is only going to offer cruise packages, Disney packages and Universal (Parks) packages," Mueller said. "Those are going to be the only three custom items that you can come in and book. Other than that, we're going to rely on just local ticket sales that we have, Disney tickets that sort of stuff."
Mueller said staffing was the decision for that change, but Soldiers and their families can still get the custom package they wish by connecting with the Travel Leisure hub at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, San Diego.
"Now we are going to refer folks to Camp Pendleton because they are actually like the hub for the Army," Mueller said. "So, we'll be able to still refer them to either Camp Pendleton or Fort Leavenworth, (Kansas)."
Other changes include how the pavilion at Outdoor Adventure Park will be rented.
"The pavilions are going to go up to an actual price for a two-hour slot," she said. "So previously we were charging $15 for all day. But again the local market, in Junction City they do $15 for two hours and then Manhattan does $20 to $25. So, we decided to do $10 an hour."
Roudybush said the increase was not to add profit into the worker's pockets or his, but to increase the offerings for Fort Riley.
"The biggest thing, I don't get extra money for us making a profit," he said. "Sarah (Mueller) or any of my employees make more money because we have better stocks or better returns. Where outside, you're either a business owner, and you get more money in your pocket; or you're running a corporation and your money is tied back to that. We're not that way.
"All of our profit goes back into MWR that allows us to recapitalize," he said. "When we recapitalize that's what allows us to do the SpareTimes, the Adventure Parks, repairing the car wash -- all the stuff we need to do -- enhancing our Arts and Crafts center. That all takes money. That money comes from 100 percent of the profit we make. That goes back into that, it doesn't go into somebody's pocket."
Contact Outdoor Adventure Park for more changes and updated rates at 785-239-2363.