LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) – Residents of Louisville’s California and Portland neighborhoods are now paying the price to use area community centers.

Since March 1, a $2 charge has been implemented for any adults using the community centers, especially those with larger gymnasiums such as California Community Center, Molly Leonard Portland Community Center and Southwick Community Center. 

However, some Metro Council members said they had no idea the charge was implemented, and many are not happy about it.

“This was never ever mentioned during the budget cycle, because if there was something that we could have done to take that cost off the people, we would have certainly done that,” said Metro Council member Jessica Green, adding that she found out about the fees after receiving a text telling her about new posters in the California Center lobby displaying the charge.

Baxter, Newburg, Shawnee, Shelby Park, South Louisville and Sun Valley Community Centers are free for adults. Beechmont Community Center charges $15 a month. 

Representatives from Louisville Metro Parks Department confirmed the charges went in place in March but will not deny anyone from using the centers if they can’t pay the charge.

The centers are often used by senior citizens and those on fixed incomes. For many in west Louisville, having extra funds to use a previously free community center can be a difficult expense.

“I’d be like, ‘Maybe I’ll go up to the park instead of going inside if I couldn’t come up with the funds,'” said Antwonne Allen, who has lived in the California neighborhood for 10 years.

Green wants to know why the fees were never brought up in previous meetings.

“In these neighborhoods, we're already over-taxed, overburdened and underpaid, and so to have something else shoved down our throats, it’s just like, Come on. Can we even catch a break?’” Green said.

Metro Parks Department and members of Metro Council both said they would like to meet together to discuss the fees and discuss any future options.  

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