Warren Riverview Park

Revenue from the city’s park rental facilities was down slightly in 2019, due mostly to the way in which a major venue rental was handled.

The city collected a bit more than $191,000 in rental fees in 2019 from sites in Madison Avenue Central Park and Warren Riverview Park. It was $206,000 in 2018.

The figures are part of the Derby Public Library’s 2019 annual report. The library and its staff have charge of the city’s park rental spaces.

Library Director Eric Gustafson said the decline can be traced to a change in operations as the new rule is to limit Central Park to one wedding a weekend.

What had been happening is that there would be a wedding on a Saturday and in order to prepare the facility for the next rental, a staff person would have to go on-site late in the night or early morning for a cleaning inspection and prepare the site.

They had been using a person from Public Works to help, but Gustafson said he wants to be more reasonable with city resources.

Weddings a big part of rentals

“Because of changes in staffing and procedure, that changed the revenue,” he said. “No more back-to-back events from Thursday to Sunday.”

In 2019, Central Park brought in $148,000 in revenue and Warren Riverview $43,000.

At The Venue in Central Park, there were 165 total site rentals, down from 192 in 2018.

That building has proven popular with two specific market segments: weddings or big community events. 

Other spaces in the park were rented 13 times, down from 19 in 2018.

Most of those spaces, such as the open-air shelter, are available on a first-come, first-served basis and people usually don’t rent them unless they have a specific event, he said.

The Pavilion building at Central Park was rented 99 times, up from 68 in 2018. Half of that was due to a rental agreement with BNI, a business networking group, which used it 49 times. It meets almost every Thursday morning.

BNI moved over to the Pavilion because there was a move to cut down on small internal space rentals at The Venue.

The Lodge has a niche market

The combination rental of The Venue and Pavilion decreased, going from 23 rentals in 2018 to six in 2019.

Rentals at the Lodge, the only enclosed building at Warren Riverview, did quite well, Gustafson said. There were 132 rentals there. Also, there were eight rentals of the open shelter.

There were only 22 park rentals in 2018, but that is not a complete comparison as it opened that fall.

The Lodge has worked well, he said, because of its size – it holds about 60 – its weekend price point of $400, and its location, with a view of the river.

“It’s a good size and a good price,” he said.

Weekdays are half the price, at $200. Gustafson said “we’re not scaring people off” with the price point. However, as with Central Park, weekends – especially Saturdays – is where the demand is.

The Lodge has hosted baby showers, retirement and birthday parties, and some small weddings.

Cleaning is not an issue at The Lodge, because renters are in charge of straightening up and Gustafson said they have been doing a good job of that.