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UA Parks & Recreation is excited to announce the launch of the PLAY UA Financial Assistance Program, designed to support community members who face financial barriers that may prevent them from participating in the department’s programs.

PLAY UA builds upon previous efforts to provide access to recreation programs for all in the community, such as the Recreation FUNd established in 2014 by the Upper Arlington Community Foundation. It is designed to meet affordability and accessibility goals identified through the 2018 Parks & Recreation Comprehensive Plan process that were endorsed by both City Council and the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board. Most recently, the Community Center Feasibility Task Force recommended the formation of a financial assistance program that would provide access to the future UA Community Center, funded through a set aside of a portion of program and membership fees.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

The PLAY UA Financial Assistance Program will provide a 50% reduction for most program and membership fees – including summer and winter camps (with a cap of $400 for summer day camp assistance), Safety Town, and membership passes for pools, tennis and the Senior Center’s Studio 55 – for qualifying residents and those who work in Upper Arlington. The program is not available for daily admission fees or facility rentals. Assistance will be awarded as funds are available.

To be eligible, applicants must provide proof of residency or employment in Upper Arlington and are required to verify that their household qualifies for the UA Schools Free/Reduced Lunch Program, verify their annual household income meets the eligibility criteria outlined below, or provide a statement of need.

Household Income Eligibility Criteria 2022
Household Size $ Household Yearly Income
(Head of household under age 65)
$ Household Yearly Income
(Head of household age 65 or older)
1 23,828 19,320
2 32,227 26,136
3 40,626 32,940
4 49,025 39,756
5 57,424 46,560
6 65,823 53,376
7 74,222 60,180
8 82,621 66,996
Each additional person add: 8,399 6,150

To ensure the proper use of City funds and to verify that applicants meet the appropriate eligibility criteria, the UA Parks & Recreation Department will randomly select applications for verification purposes.

Funding for the program will come from a few sources:

  • Transaction Fees: Effective with the 2022 Spring/Summer activities, a $1 transaction fee will be added to most program registrations, membership passes and facility rentals. It will be applied for each type of registration – or module – and could therefore result in a $3 transaction fee if each module is included in one transaction. It will not be applied for any daily admission fees or for programs that have no associated registration cost. These fee will begin on February 1 for Summer Day Camp and on March 9 for all other programs and passes.
  • Donations: It will be possible for individuals to make an additional donation to the PLAY UA Financial Assistance Fund when registering for programs and memberships through the department’s RecTrac software.

Now is the time for families that could benefit from the 2022 PLAY UA Financial Assistance Program to apply, with the program going into effect per the following schedule:

  • For 2022 Summer Day Camp registrations – which open at 6 am on Tuesday, February 1 for Residents.
  • For 2022 Spring & Summer Programs, Pools, Tennis and Studio 55 Passes – beginning Wednesday, March 9.

POLICY & PROCEDURES

I           About the PLAY UA Financial Assistance Program

The PLAY UA Financial Assistance Program provides financial support to those in need, in an effort to remove financial barriers and encourage participation in Parks & Recreation programs. PLAY UA – subject to available space and funds – provides a 50% reduction in program and membership fees (lower amount applicable for summer day camp) and is provided to those who meet eligibility criteria.

Assistance is available for most recreation programs, including summer and winter camps, Safety Town, and membership passes for pools, tennis, and the Senior Center’s Studio 55. Assistance for summer day camp is limited to $400 per participant per year. Assistance is not available for daily admission fees or facility rentals.

II           Goals of the PLAY UA Financial Assistance Program

The City understands the limitations some families may have with discretionary funds for recreational services and seeks to help remove barriers to participation and promote access to programs and services. It is our desire to have a user-friendly process to encourage use of the program for those who need it. The following are goals of the PLAY UA Financial Assistance Program:

  1. Remove financial barriers to participation and create a program whereby funds may be accessed by residents in need.
  2. Create and maintain a simplified application, review, and award process.
  3. Increase community awareness of the PLAY UA Fund for those who would benefit from the program, as well bring awareness to those who would like to contribute to the fund.
  4. Provide a sustainable funding method within the Parks & Recreation Department for financial assistance.

III           Program Policy

Financial Resources

  1. Transaction Fees
    The Department will institute a $1 fee added to registration transactions to generate funding for the assistance program. The fee will be applicable to program registrations, membership passes and facility rentals; it will not be applied to daily admission fees. The $1 fee would be applied per module (programs, passes and rentals) which could result in a $3 transaction fee if each module is included in one transaction.Based on the nature of select services, the Department will review and determine which sales transactions will not be charged the $1 fee. For example, classes that are free or have no registration cost will not be charged the $1 transaction fee.
  2. Donations
    Individuals may also choose to make a separate donation towards the PLAY UA Financial Assistance Fund. Donations can be submitted through the Department’s registration software (RecTrac). Individuals will be presented with a “donation opportunity” if they would like to select a donation amount towards PLAY UA Financial Assistance. This will create awareness of the program and allow customers to provide funds to support the needs of residents. Donated funds will be tracked by the Finance Department and any unused donations will be carried forward year-to-year.
  3. Budgeted Funds
    Each year the Parks & Recreation Department, as part of the annual budget process, will designate a certain amount of funds to be utilized for financial assistance. The following will be considered in setting the annual PLAY UA budget:
    • Donated fund balance available in the PLAY UA account
    • Review of previous year’s awards
    • Anticipated awards for the coming year
  1. Utilization of Funds
    Any donated funds will be utilized first and adhere to the intended purpose of donors.The financial assistance amount within the operating budget will be monitored to ensure allocations do not exceed any designated revenue source. RecTrac will be used for processing the distribution of financial assistance funds during customer transactions as available.If the annual allotment of funds is exhausted in the annual PLAY UA Financial Assistance budget, the Department may consider increasing the annual allocation. The Department may recommend other external funding sources for consideration to customers.The Department will submit documentation to the Finance Department to transfer funds from the PLAY UA account to the appropriate facility or program revenue to cover the financial assistance utilization. Any remaining funds collected and not dispersed will carry over for future utilization.

IV           Eligibility Criteria

  1. Assistance will be awarded as funds are available.
  2. Assistance is available to residents and those who work in Upper Arlington. City employees and family members, as well as members of City Boards and Commissions are not eligible. One (1) of the following items is required to verify residency or employment in UA:
    • Copy of most recent driver’s license, utility bill, tax record, or employer paystub.
    • Copy of housing lease/rental agreement with owner’s signature.
  1. In addition to confirming a household member lives or works in UA, eligibility is determined by the applicant meeting one (1) of the following scenarios:
    • Verifying your household qualifies for the UA schools Free/Reduced Lunch Program (see chart below). Income for all household residents must be combined and used for qualification. This qualification would apply to households with children that may not be of school age.
    • Verifying annual household income (see chart below); income for all household residents must be combined and used for qualification.
  1. Statement of need if neither of the two above options apply. UA Parks & Recreation reserves the right to request additional support documentation from applicants.
  2. Financial Assistance recipients are expected to participate in programs or utilize the pass. Failure to attend programs or utilize memberships may compromise future eligibility for the program.
  3. To ensure proper use of City funds and to verify applicants meet eligibility criteria for assistance, the City will randomly select applications for verification.
Household Income Eligibility Criteria 2022
Household Size $ Household Yearly Income
(Head of household under age 65)
$ Household Yearly Income 
(Head of household age 65 or older)
1 23,828 19,320
2 32,227 26,136
3 40,626 32,940
4 49,025 39,756
5 57,424 46,560
6 65,823 53,376
7 74,222 60,180
8 82,621 66,996
Each additional person add: 8,399 6,150

V           Procedures

Award Parameters

  1. A 50% reduction in program and membership fees will be awarded to the eligible participant and members of their household for the calendar year (January 1- December 31) while funds are available.
  2. Each year, applicants must confirm they continue to meet Play UA Financial Assistance eligibility criteria and desire continuation in the program. A statement of continued eligibility must be completed each year by the recipient enrolled in the program.
  3. PLAY UA funds may not be utilized in addition to other program discounts. For example, individuals who utilize Medicare supplemental benefits for free or reduced program fees (SilverSneakersTMor Renew Active participants) do not qualify for additional PLAY UA discounts for those programs. These individuals may still apply for and utilize PLAY UA Funds for other programs; however, PLAY UA funds will not be additionally awarded where SilverSneakersTM or Renew Active discounts are already received.

How To Apply

  1. Our online application is available at //upperarlingtonoh.viewpointcloud.com/categories/1086/record-types/6494. We encourage applying online, however, if needed you may complete an application in person at Parks & Recreation Administrative Office at 3600 Tremont Rd, Upper Arlington, OH 43221.
  2. Provide a copy of one (1) acceptable proof of residency or employment in UA and indicate your eligibility using one (1) of the eligibility scenarios provided in the application. Proof of residency or employment may be attached using the online application.
  3. Applications will be reviewed as they are received, and a response will be made available within two weeks.

When To Apply

  1. We encourage application submissions as soon as possible for review and consideration.
  2. Applicants may want to register to hold a spot in a program and will be reimbursed if the request for financial assistance is approved. Please Note: for financial assistance to be considered for a program for which you have already registered, a PLAY UA application must be submitted within two (2) business days of the transaction date.
  3. If reapplying for ongoing financial assistance for a new calendar year, please complete your request and statement of continued eligibility in November before registration for the next year begins. The Department will send a reminder notice to each household currently enrolled in the program. This is to encourage awareness of the need for reapplication each year and to confirm household eligibility criteria is still met.

Application Process

  1. All applicants must submit an application for consideration and review. The following forms will be utilized throughout the application process:
    • PLAY UA Financial Assistance Policies & Procedures (Internal use).
    • PLAY UA Financial Assistance Application (OpenGov online form on our website).
    • PLAY UA Recipient Feedback – Requested feedback following use of funds.
  1. Applications received will be forwarded to the Department Administrative Assistant to review and verify residency. Upon verification, the Administrative Assistant will forward each application to the Director for final review and approval. The Department reserves the right to request additional documentation to verify an applicant’s eligibility for support.
  2. Approved applications – The requester will be notified by the Parks & Recreation office and the 50% discount will be applied in their RecTrac household account.
  3. Denied applications – The requestor will be notified by the Parks & Recreation office with reason for the denial.
  4. Approved customers will be able to register for programs and purchase passes through Rec Trac. The 50% discount will be applied during checkout and the customer will pay the remaining balance. The discount will apply to purchases once accepted in the program. To receive reimbursement for a previous registration the applicant must contact the Department no later than two business days after the transaction.
  5. All application decisions (approved or denied) will be entered into the PLAY UA tracking spreadsheet for record keeping purposes.
  6. Each year the Parks & Recreation office will request feedback from recipients on the Financial Assistance Program, the impact of the award, and any suggestions for program improvement. Feedback received will also be entered into the PLAY UA tracking spreadsheet for future reference.

Notification When Financial Assistance Is No Longer Needed

  1. Recipients and their household are to notify our office if they no longer meet eligibility for financial assistance. This is appreciated so that funds may be directed to those individuals/households in need. Recipients are asked to notify our office in writing or e-mail.

VI           Tracking Financial Assistance Participation

UA Parks & Recreation will utilize a tracking spreadsheet to gauge participation in the UA PLAY Financial Assistance Program. All applications will be entered into this spreadsheet for recordkeeping purposes.

VII            Community Awareness

PLAY UA Financial Assistance information will be promoted throughout the community through various means including but not limited to: Activity Guide, City publications, Activity Registration Splash Page, school counselors, Network UA and community organizations.

VIII           Policy Effective Timeline

This PLAY UA Financial Assistance Program will go in effect in 2022 as follows:

  1. Transaction Fees:
    • Summer Day Camp registration beginning February 1, 2022
    • 2022 Spring & Summer Programs, Pool, Tennis and Studio 55 Passes on March 9, 2022
  1. PLAY UA Financial Assistance fee reduction is eligible for any programs upon acceptance into the program and will begin as follows:
    • Summer Day Camp registration beginning February 1, 2022
    • 2022 Spring & Summer Programs, Pool, Tennis and Studio 55 Passes on March 9, 2022

The Upper Arlington Parks & Recreation Department understands the important role recreation and leisure plays in our daily lives and seeks to remove barriers that may prohibit an individual or family from enjoying our services. Please contact our office if we may be of additional assistance or answer any other questions.

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