Canoe Livery Returning to Kent in 2011
Success of inaugural Crooked River Adventures prompts Kent Parks department to continue canoe and kayak program
After the success of the Crooked River Adventures in 2010, Kent Parks and Recreation is opening up John Brown Tannery Park again for a canoe and kayak livery in 2011.
The Kent Parks and Recreation Department started advertising the lease opportunity at the park on Dec. 22. Kent Parks and Recreation Director John Idone said he expects to receive proposals soon.
Idone said the parks department is advertising the park as available to lease for the livery operation. The lease will cost about $150 a month and the livery will be allowed to run from April 1 to Oct. 31.
Kent State University was the first party to lease the park for recreational purposes in 2010. Crooked River Adventures, which ran from May 15 to Oct. 17, recorded more than 2,300 canoe and kayak trips.
"As things progressed we were very pleased with the job Kent State did and the professional manner that they ran (Tannery Park)," Idone said.
In 2010, Kent State, one of the two bidders, won the process and paid Kent Parks and Recreation the $150 monthly rent plus 5 percent of the gross net sales, Idone said.
"There were a lot of benefits with this operation," said Chris Hendricks, Adventure Center Graduate Assistant and manager of Crooked River Adventures.
"It's increasing recreational opportunities in the community," Hendricks said. "We are increasing awareness and education on how to properly use the river and how to utilize that great asset that we have, as well as teaching people how to be considerate and to think about how much of an impact they are making when they go out there."
Crooked River Adventures fell short by about $14,500 from breaking even in its first year of operations, according to a memo from Kent State's Department of Recreational Services to the Kent parks department.
"We were pretty pleased with how we ended up after the season," Hendricks said. "We had almost double the revenue that we projected in the business plan last season. As far as money wise, it was pretty good."
The program's total expenses in 2010 came to $55,588, compared with the total revenue of $38,883. Initial expenses included start-up cost such as trailer for hauling the boats, life jackets, radios and a tent.
Idone said the livery operation brought the city economic benefits in addition to support for the annual Cuyahoga River Cleanup. He said many customers would shop and eat in downtown Kent after their trips on the river.
According to a Kent State survey, the program attracted customers from states all over the country, including California, Oregon, Florida, Texas and Tennessee. More than 80 percent of the customers identified themselves as not Kent State students.
Idone said Kent parks received about $2,700 from the agreement with Kent State. He said the Kent parks board plans to work on one- or two-year lease extensions in the coming years if the program continues to benefit the city and the river.
"Ten different states coming to Kent, Ohio, and experiencing the river and having a positive experience of Kent? It's hard to put a dollar value on that," Idone said. "They go home and who knows whether it might lead to other things."