The nine-member Board of Directors voted to defund the program for next year and pushed for the need to reel in more revenue from rentals of The Lake House while maintaining programs and services that meet the needs and desires of RA members. RA purchased the property after a controversial referendum two years ago.
The Fit Kids Enrichment Club is a pay-to-play program created last year that includes gardening and fishing clubs that typically run between 4:30 and 6 p.m, according to Laura Kowalski, RA’s deputy director for recreation. The clubs serve roughly 100 students annually.
Board members said it was not appropriate for a homeowners’ association like RA to become a daycare provider by funding the program.
“We should not enter a market that does not need our entry… it was a market we should have never gotten into,” said at-large director Eric Carr.
Others worried that RA’s ongoing effort to court more rentals and reel in more revenue from The Lake House could clash with the need for using the facility in a way that benefits RA’s membership — especially with programs like the enrichment clubs that are expected to bring in a little over $4,000 in revenue next year.
“It has saddened me that since we’ve purchased the property that we haven’t used it to the members’ benefit… I’m fearful that right now we’re veering off to only rentals and not being able to take care of members with things they wish to do,” said Julie Bitzer, South Lakes district director.
Board members said it was integral to provide direction to RA staff on how to drive rentals at The Lake House in a manner that is in concert with guidelines that ensure programs are of benefit to the community, including the possibility of extending hours to expand opportunities for additional revenue.
The board plans to reconsider if it will fund enrichment clubs in 2019.