City Kayak and Paddleboard Rental Program Reduced, Delayed
Last updated 9/4/2022 at 2:04pm
An unexpected sharp rise in cost has shrunk the planned kayak and paddleboard rental project planned for Lake Wailes Park, in a shift approved by the city commission. The rental program will be created in partnership with a company called Rent.Fun.
The rental program was proposed in May by Recreation Manager Stephanie Edwards as an inexpensive way to offer more opportunities for citizens to get on the water and enjoy the outdoors. At that time the commission approved a proposal that would have provided for six kayaks and two paddle boards.
According to Rent.Fun, "unexpected and substantial cost increases on our electronic components following our supplier's Covid-related shutdown in Shanghai," have slowed production of the rental cages, which were to have been installed in late May, only weeks after board approval.
The rental "cage" will be placed adjacent to the boat launch ramp on the north side of Lake Wailes. Residents and visitors will be able to access the floating devices from the automated lockers using a credit or debit card. Each rental will include paddles, accessories, and lifejackets.
While the initial $15,000 cost will not change, the expected eight-unit rental box will now be only a four-unit installation.
Rent.Fun informed city staff that "we've discovered that 4-units are sufficient to meet the demand in the vast majority of locations, as it is extremely rare for more than 4-units to be checked out at once."
Originally planned to contain six kayaks and two paddle boards, it is unclear what options will be available in the four-unit box.
The initial cost of the pilot program will be paid for by the city and recovered by a portion of the rental fees which Rent.Fun will pay back to the city. Once the initial cost has been repaid the contractor will retain a larger share of the fees, but the city will continue to receive a small portion, which will be used to help fund future recreation needs.
"People are going to love these self-service options," Edwards said at the time it was originally approved. "As the city grows in population, we want to provide fun solutions to keep people active and outdoors," she added.
Pay-per-use or monthly and yearly subscriptions are to be made available. Users are required to register for an account on the mobile app Rent.Fun, sign a waiver, and submit payment. Minors must be registered by an adult.
"The locker system is convenient and easy to use," Edwards said. "As we see an increase in demand, we plan to add more rentable solutions," she added.