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City’s rodeo grounds may lasso more bucks

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PLEASANT GROVE — Pleasant Grove City officials may try to rope in more dollars when they rent the rodeo grounds in the future.

A surge of interest in the rodeo grounds has prompted the City Council to look again at the rental price. Is it too low? Is that why groups are suddenly competing for the opportunity to use the grounds for concerts, sporting events and Mexican band festivals?

"We ought to charge a commercial fee to recoup taxpayer investment," said Councilman Freeman Andersen in a recent council work session.

"That's typically 2 to 4 percent of the value and we have, what, over a million-dollar investment here?"

Tony Onofrietti, director of leisure services for the city, said the rodeo grounds have not been marketed before and, in fact, were previously rented out by a committee not reporting to the city.

Last year, the rodeo ground operation was assigned to the recreation department and Onofrietti.

"Up to this point, there has not been a lot of request for rental," Onofrietti told the Deseret News recently. "Now we're seeing a lot of interest, particularly since the Father's Day Radio Festival (held by Moses and Betty Garcia of American Fork) Sunday, June 18."

Onofrietti said the council needs to decide if the city wants to rent the grounds on a regular basis and how to handle the details such as renting on Sunday and requiring a vet to be on the premises for livestock events.

"The rules and regulations are a subset of the main objective, which is, do we make the facility available at all?" Onofrietti said.

He said those kinds of details can be worked through without a lot of difficulty once the council determines how vigorously they want to pursue marketing the rodeo grounds.

If the council wishes to rent the grounds on a regular basis, he said they need to look at the city's additional liability concerns, whether the amount of bonding against damage is sufficient and whether the facility should be rented on Sundays.

Councilwoman Carol Harmer said she believes Pleasant Grove has nicer facilities than most and has invested more money than a lot of other cities. The stands seat 5,000-7,000, and the animal chutes are nearly new.

She said the current daily rental rate of $275 is too low.

Onofrietti said the rate was $100 and had only recently been raised to $275.

Harmer suggested the rate should be calculated based on what portion of the facilities a group needs and weighed against other kinds of rental policies.

Moses and Betty Garcia are returning Wednesday to ask the council for another engagement date at which time the council plans to discuss the rental philosophy at length.

E-mail: haddoc@desnews.com