By BARRY LANK
ECHO PARK – You may be paying more for a pedal boat at Echo Park Lake in a couple of months while the city’s Recreation and Parks Department will be receiving a bigger cut of rental fees.
The city is replacing the company that has been renting pedal boats at the lake based on the results of a bidding process among four companies. The Department of Recreation and Parks has recommended giving the concession to Freetime, Inc. which does business as Wheel Fun Rentals. Parks commissioners approved the change at a meeting last month.
Wheel Fun will replace Chaffin & Reeves (doing business as Echo Park Lake Pedal Boats Canoe & Gondola), which has been running the concession since 2013 after the boathouse reopened following an extensive renovation. This is no small loss for Cheffin & Reeves, which grossed $543,019 in 2016 on concession at Echo Park Lake. This new contract also includes the pedal boat concession at Lake Balboa in Van Nuys, which grossed $231,415 last year.
“Wheel Fun Rentals smoked us in the Revenue Sharing part of the bid,” Chaffin & Reeves posted on their Facebook page. They added, however, “The actual changes won’t actually occur for 2-5 months, so you can count on us until then.”
Wheel Fun Rentals has indicated they plan to restructure the rental pricing – charging per boat instead of per person. The current price has been $10 per adult and $5 per child for an hour. Wheel Fun plans to charge $25.00 per hour for a pedal boat that can hold two adults and one lap child. So unless you fill your boat to capacity, you’ll be paying more than before.
On the other hand, a larger pedal boat that can carry four adults and one lap child is to be $35.00 per hour – offering the opportunity to pay less than before.
Recreation and Parks is also reserving the right to negotiate a lower price for individual riders.
The parks department will receive 25% of the profits – a generous bump from the current arrangement, in which they receive 10%.
Wheel Fun has also agreed to provide year-round use of pedal boats, including holidays, weather permitting. The Eastsider has contacted Wheel Fun for more details
Freetime Inc. has more than 17 years experience renting pedal boat and bicycles, according to the parks department’s recommendation. Concessions include Santa Fe Dam in Irwindale, Whittier Narrows Recreational Area in South El Monte, Miles Square Park in Fountain Valley, Yorba Regional Park in Anaheim, and Frank G. Bonelli Park in San Dimas.
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