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The Cuyahoga Falls Parks and Recreation Board revisited the ongoing rate structure debate at the Natatorium Thursday evening.
Board Chairman Tim Gorbach says he and the rest of the Board will have a decision by next month.
"At this point the Parks Board is going to do their due diligence, take all the comments under consideration, and at the next meeting we'll have a decision on if there will be any changes to the rate structure," Gorbach said.
Tim Gorbach Falls Parks and Rec Chair by Aaron Coleman
After the Parks Board had their March meeting, a few City Council members met with the Superintendent of the Park and Recreation Department to get a firmer grasp on the current rate structure and if they indeed should form a committee to review it.
The council members decided not to form a committee and asked the Board to take another look Thursday.
The debate stems from Shane and Coty May, a same-sex married couple who were denied a family rate at the gym in January.The couple were married in Washington D.C. on October 28.
Gorbach says the Board will be looking at a myriad of options within the month.
"We've got great folks and great facilities here in Cuyahoga Falls and maybe if we go to an adult-children rate program we can alleviate some of these issues."
Some members of the Cuyahoga Falls City Council says the Park Board's decision to keep the current family rates in March was based on financial reasons rather than a moral decision.
Cuyahoga Falls Ward Eight Councilman Terry Mader says this ongoing debate is not an issue of discrimination, but one of fiscal responsibility.
"It's very detrimental to come up with a plan of paying off our debt in response to the money owed," Mader said.
"To me that's a backward step in being fiscally responsible when it comes to this city."
If approved, a rate change could created revenue losses for the Nat in the neighborhood of $49,000
Gorbach says the issue has become a"pro-gay or anti-gay" debate and wants to expand the fitness facility's discount policy for all patrons in an attempt to eliminate what some call discrimination.
When Shane and Coty were denied the family membership, they were told by the Natatorium staff the marriage was not recognized by Ohio law.
There were people on both sides of the issue at Thursday's meeting, as expected but Gorbach quelled some of the tension by saying that the public forum was not a place to attack one another's viewpoint, or that of the Parks Board.
Shane's husband Coty, an Iraq war veteran suffered injuries in combat and wished to use the Nat for physical therapy and rehabilitation.
The Natatorium's refusal to give the family discount to the couple sparked an online petition with over 4,000 signatures and numerous emails to Falls City Council.
The facility's website has over 100 different rates for membership into the Natatorium. Various other gyms across Northeast Ohio currently offer family discounts to same-sex couples.
The Board will decide on the issue during the May 10th meeting.
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