WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Runners may soon have to shell out more cash for their hobby. The proposed fee is part of Wilmington’s recommended budget for the upcoming year. It would require all city race participants to pay an extra dollar for each race they run.
“I just don’t think that it’s a very good idea,” said Tracy Christian, president of Wilmington Road Runners, a group of running enthusiasts, and a race organizer. “I want people to be more well. We want the cross-city trails, we want the greenways, we want people to be active and healthy, and this is not how you do it.”
Christian is not happy with the fee proposed by Recreation and Downtown Services Superintendent Amy Beatty as a way to maintain greenways, trails, streets and sidewalks.
“What we are trying to do is directly link the the service to a particular fee, so that the users of that service are the ones who are absorbing that fee,” Beatty said.
Beatty hopes race organizers will pass the fee on to participants instead of taking it on themselves.
“I think it’s kind of a shame that they are going to tax the runners, because I know that the races bring quite a bit of money into the city, but at the same time, it is just a dollar,” runner Chaia Warrington said.
The Port City hosts about 40 or 50 races every year, but race organizers are afraid the proposed fees could cut that number significantly.
“I wonder if the city maybe had some complaints from people downtown and they are trying to get rid of events, because this will definitely shut down smaller races,” Christian said.
The majority of the city’s races are small. Christian says when smaller races go, the non-profits who put them on will lose lots of funding.
Beatty says she does not expect the fee to impact the number of races in town.
If the budget is approved at tomorrow night’s City Council meeting, runners could see changes starting as early as July 1.