ROSSFORD — Kayak rentals are being considered by the Rossford Parks and Recreation Department.
“We had a preliminary meeting with them. We think it would be a good fit. We’re starting to look at the second phase of that,” said Parks and Recreation Director Toby Ledesma. “Essentially what the company does is it comes in and sets up a big lock box. The locker box can be opened up via cell phone. Each locker has a QR code that you punch into your cell phone, then you pay online. Once paid, it unlocks automatically. Inside the locker is a kayak, life vest and paddles, everything you need to use for kayaks.”
The contact-less locker system sits outside and is solar powered. It does not need anyone watching over the system. All charges are done automatically and waivers are sent through the users cell phone. It only needs a flat concrete surface for the lock box to sit on.
They are considering six kayaks for the rental program, which is considered the minimum for the rental agreement the Rent.Fun company, at a total of $16,000, to the city for a five-year period. Half the profits from each rental go the city and half to Rent.Fun. There is no additional cost to the city for an additional years on the program.
“It would be a source of revenue and the longer (the city) does it, the more that’s created,” Ledesma said. “It should be passive income for the city, once we get the initial investment put down.”
There is likely to be a mix of single and double-seater kayaks.
The concept was suggested after installation of the kayak launch in spring 2021. The marina then became a stop on the Maumee River Water Trail.
The company would supply the kayaks, the self service unit, any repairs, replacement and all the technical know-how. All the equipment is checked on weekly. The Rent.Fun started their “smart-lock” system, which utilizes cell phone technology, for bike rentals, expanded to scooters and now has moved into kayaks.
Ledesma said that they are still in the initial phase of consideration for the program, but would like to hear what residents have to say about the concept.
“We’re still just talking about it. We took it to the rec committee and we took it to the facilities, parks and marina committee,” Ledesma said. “There is a significant investment to setting it up.”
He would like to start the program in the spring, however, they found the program in December, after the city budget was approved.
“Everything when you first look at it sounds awesome and now we are fully diving in to make sure we have a full understanding of it,” Ledesma said. “We’re finalizing details. We’ll take it back to both of those committees and then go to the finance committee, to see if we can find a way to get this.”
From there, it is likely to need a full council vote.
Ledesma is talking with other locations that have already been using the system. The kayak smart-lockers that are used in 20 locations, across 10 states. Locally, the program is already used in the Toledo Metroparks at Howard Marsh.