So I am a beekeeper, I only have one hive but I still qualify.
I have been contemplating writing a proposal to help interested people to get into beekeeping relatively cost free.
The cost was one of the things that made me put it off for many years partly because I had the attitude of what would I get out of it that was financially equivalent.
But it was the growing concern over bee populations that overcame that attitude but it was still not a small initial investment. It costs roughly $300-$600 to start with one hive, depending on several factors of course,
In my community they offered free rain barrels, up to 4 of them, and for anyone who has ever shopped for rain barrels they go for between $50-$100, so I know there is money for programs that benefit the community and the environment.
The basics of the program I had in mind would be offering a limited number of people, strategically spaced and who had to commit to a certain amount of training and education for certification that would be at cost to them. This could be gotten for less than $100 and probably less if done as a set group.
This would be an inattentive to get more people to start beekeeping but only target people who already had an interest.
It would also bolster peoples awareness of the importance of bees as well as hopefully build community as I have found people who keep bees love to get together and talk about what's going on with their bees.
The proposed offering would be for a single 2 box hive with frames, a package of bees, veil and gloves, smoker and hive tool. I would assume that bought in bulk by a city negotiating price, the whole offering would be around $300 each for the city, similar to the cost of rain barrels program in my city.
So, by a show of hands, if your city offered such a program, how would you feel about it?
I have a two box system that seems to be like what you're describing and your prices seem a little steep. Granted I bought mine two years ago, but the whole shebang with suit was only $250. I had to buy some special winterizing stuff that first year bc I was stupid about getting my hive to grow, some education would have been awesome.
If you're buying or building in bulk, then it should be slightly cheaper?