In the interest of totally transparency, here is a very professional response from a Concord official about the availability of the Concord Community Center:
Thank you for your response. Just to clarify, we do allow some free usage of the community center for residents. Concord home owners associations may meet at the community center free of charge up to four times a year. We also allow community groups to use rooms free of charge based on availability. Community groups include the Community Band, 4-H Club, Youth Sports Groups, Pinochle Group, Mah Jongg Club and a few sewing and quilting clubs. These groups are non-political in nature, open to the public, and are leisure/hobby centered.
Other resident requests are subject to our fee schedule in order to cover operating and staffing costs, as our policy includes a staff member on duty when meetings or rentals take place in the evenings and on weekends. Our rooms book up quickly, so I believe our residents find value in using the center for family celebrations and meetings. We often check competitor pricing to ensure we are offering a fair price while still covering basic costs.
To answer your question, the Trustees use the center for official township business, such as strategic planning meetings with department heads, informational videotaped Fireside Chats and the question and answer session regarding the new town center. However, if they (or any township employee) wished to use the community center for non-official or personal business, they would be subject to the full fee schedule just like any other resident. In fact, when a Trustee was looking for a location for a non-official meeting last year, he selected the community center and paid the full price of a rental.
As you requested, I will share your thoughts with the Trustees regarding not projecting an inviting and accommodating Township to residents. Please know that we appreciate your feedback and truly consider suggestions and criticisms helpful to our mutual goal of providing Concord residents with quality services while doing our best to contain costs and be responsible stewards of tax dollars.
Again, thank you for your message.
Debra L. Bechel-Esker
Lake County, Ohio