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Want some water fun in Batavia? Just rent it, county legislators say

By Joanne Beck kayak rental
Potentially coming soon to DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street in Batavia is a kayak rental kiosk, shown here in Havelock, NC, installed by Rent.Fun LLC, a company being considered by Genesee County. Photo from Rent.Fun website.

If you don’t think there’s fun to be had in Batavia, then look no further than the name of a company being considered for DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street.

Genesee County legislators that make up the Public Service Committee reviewed a move Monday to obtain Rent.Fun LLC to set up a self-service kayak rental kiosk at DeWitt. Kayaking was identified in the county’s comprehensive recreation plan as a “need to be made available to the community.”

Genesee County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens and the deputy superintendent recommended that the committee approve the proposal for the county to enter into an agreement with Rent.Fun, LLC, located in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“There would be four (kayaks) available to rent from spring to fall,” Hens said to The Batavian. “The financial model is that the county would pay itself back on the investment, but we are looking at this as an opportunity to provide a recreational service to the community that also generates residual income and requires no county maintenance.”

The agreement would be for a period of five years, at a total cost of $16,000 for the installation and activation of smart lockers, fully equipped with kayaks/lifejackets and locker signage. Kayak users would then pay a rental fee through use of the kiosk that would go back to the county.

This park amenity expense will come out of the Capital Project DeWitt Improvements Phase IV, with $6,000 of this cost offset by a donation from the Association for the Conservation of Recreational and Natural Spaces (ACORNS), for a total cost of $10,000 to the county.

A final vote will go before the county Legislature in the next couple of weeks.

“If approved, the kayaks will be in place by mid-June,” Hens said.

In 2020-21, the county’s Chamber of Commerce Batavia Rotary Club and Youth Bureau worked together to put a $6,000 grant toward a new kayak launch at DeWitt and purchase kayaks for the Youth Bureau.

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