“The Play UA assistance that we received was such a great help! It allowed me to have my son participate in two soccer camps, and most importantly to any kindergarten kid, Safety Town. Without the assistance I received I would not have registered him for the soccer camps. I’m so grateful that there was a way to assist me so I can still send him without placing more financial burden on me. I really appreciate it and I want you to know you made a difference in my life, it helped me give more “normal” to my son and helped him fit in with his friends. It is part of the reason I chose to move to UA and why we love living here with the support of our community.”
Early in 2022, the City’s Parks & Recreation Department launched 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. A look back at the first year indicates the program is meeting its goals, with 35 households and 141 people afforded the opportunity to participate in 143 programs and memberships in 2022.
PLAY UA is designed to meet affordability and accessibility goals identified through the 2018 Parks & Recreation Comprehensive Plan process that were endorsed by 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.
PLAY UA provides 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 eligibility criteria, or provide a statement of need.
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 is coming from a few sources:
- Transaction Fees: A $1 transaction fee has been added to most program registrations, membership passes and facility rentals. In 2022, approximately $10,500 was generated through this method.
- Donations: It’s 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. In 2022, approximately $750 was raised thanks to the generosity of our residents.