SUMMERVILLE -- The town is looking at charging fees to use Azalea Hut and other popular park meeting places.

The hut, also called the Cuthbert Community Center, is the building at the entrance to Azalea Park in the historic district. Among other facilities being considered are the Train Depot at Doty Park and park picnic shelters.

The move would be simply to offset costs, said Mike Hinson, parks supervisor, the way softball teams pay to use ballfields and sports teams pay to use lighted fields. Staff will do a comparative study of nearby public recreation facilities that charge fees and bring a proposed set of fees back to council.

Councilman Walter Bailey opposed charging residents for facilities they already pay tax money to support. But Councilman Bob Jackson said the preponderance of people who use the facilities are from the town, and if they were excluded, "there's no point in going through this. We're coming up short of money. We either increase taxes for everybody or come up with a user-fee system."

Councilman Mike Dawson, who chairs the parks and recreation committee, said any set of fees proposed would be tiered so that out-of-town users pay more than residents.

Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744 or bpetersen@postandcourier.com.