For the first time ever, Rye Town Park (RTP) will offer $2 discount coupons to adults beginning this Friday. The vouchers will be good for both beach and parking admission on upcoming weekdays.
The discount vouchers, representing a bid to boost sagging weekday attendance figures, will be distributed to park and beach goers Fridays through Sundays and will be good for use Mondays through Thursdays.
Season permits and parking discounts are issued to both residents and non-residents, but non-permit use on weekdays includes an $8 per vehicle parking fee and $7 beach access fee for adults. Those rates are increased to $9 and $10 respectively on weekends.
For non-residents, the weekday parking rate is $10 and $9 for beach access. On weekends, that rate jumps to $15 and $10 for adults.
The decision to offer the discounts came during a special 7:30 a.m. meeting Tuesday of the Rye Town Park Commission (RTPC) at Rye Town Hall. The meeting's purpose was to consider special promotion rate options for the 2011 season.
The session came in response to a suggestion from Rye City Mayor Doug French to offer the discount coupons as a way of stimulating disappointing weekday attendance figures.
Mayor French made the suggestion at the last RTPC meeting on July 19, but time ran out before it could be put to a vote.
RTPC President and Rye Town Supervisor Joseph Carvin then proposed the morning meeting where the promotional rate options were discussed and voted upon.
The move was approved by a 5-0 vote. Those voting in favor included Carvin, Mayors French and Joan Feinstein, and Commissioners Benedict Salanitro of Rye Brook and Joseph Sack of Rye.
Port Chester Mayor Dennis Pilla was absent from both meetings.
Carvin said the discounts came in the wake of disappointing weekday attendance figures to date . He said running RTP amounts is a weather-related business. Park and beach attendance, he explained, has been down because it has been either too hot, too cold or too rainy.
“Last weekend was a disaster, and we have to do something about the attendance,” said Carvin. He praised Mayor French for coming up with the discount coupon idea.
Estimated RTP losses to date are well over the $100,000 lost last year and could increase to as much as $200,000 this year.
RTPC will spend $750 to print 20,000 discount vouchers to be ready for distribution by Friday. Adult drivers entering the RTP parking lot Fridays through Sundays will receive a single $2 discount voucher good for future weekday parking discounts.
Every paying adult entering the beach on weekends will receive a $2 discount coupon good for use on those weekdays as well.
Facsimiles of those vouchers will be distributed to various media outlets to promote the discount program.
Mayor French estimated that the move could boost the average weekday attendance of 300 beach and parking lot users by as much as 10 percent, which would more than pay for the cost of printing the vouchers by peak season's end around Labor Day.
The discount program could also help bring more resident and non-resident patrons back to RTP on weekdays.
Other items under discussion included preparing a new RFP (Request for Proposals) for automatic parking gates to go into effect by the start of next season. Also discussed was the possible creation of a formal committee to set up an RFP for a RTP public-private partnership, which could help come up with ways to help pay for an estimated $14 million needed for infrastructure improvements.