by Paul Kashmann
With spring upon
us and summer in sight, Denver parks are already seeing the return of
hordes of walkers, runners, skaters, bikers, anglers, volleyballers,
dog walkers, playground users, and those who just like to sit on a bench or a
bit of green grass and take in the pleasant surroundings.
In addition, a
variety of commercial businesses – outdoor yoga classes, boot camp
clinics, painting classes and the like – that operate within the
boundaries of Denver parks will be returning as well.
control competing uses, Denver’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) has
been working to create a policy for permitting commercial activity on public
With the assistance of city staff and a
variety of park stakeholders, DPR has developed a draft of regulatory policies
and procedures, along with proposed fees for permits and park locations where
such activity is allowed. A series of public meetings will take place in April,
to seek public input on the draft policy:
Tues., April 9, 5:30p.m.,
Scheitler Recreation Center, 5031 W. 46th Ave.; Wed.,
17, 5:30p.m., Cook Park Recreation Center, 7100 Cherry Creek S. Dr.;
Thur., 18, 5:30p.m., Central Park
Recreation Center, 9651 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.; and Sat., 20, 9:30
a.m., Fleming Mansion, 1510 S. Grant St.
In addition to these public meetings, the
proposed policy will also be presented and discussed at the Denver Parks and
Recreation Advisory Board meetings on April 11 and May 9, 5:30p.m, in
conference room 4.G.2 in the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Building, 201 W.
Colfax Ave. The May 9 meeting will include a public hearing.
residents are concerned that plans for a new play structure being planned as a
replacement for the 25-year- old wooden playground in the western portion of
City Park will mean less green
space for other park users.
DPR spokesperson Angela Casias
Profile that, “Reimagine Play (the moniker for the new design) is more than a playground: it’s an
interactive play space for all ages. We expect the new environment will be just
a little larger than the existing wooden structure.” The project is budgeted at
$5 million, with seed money coming from the city and the balance from private
contributions and fund raising.
Answering charges that DPR has not done
sufficient outreach into nearby neighborhoods, Casias
said, “We are currently planning a series of public meetings that will be
scheduled throughout the year to address the Reimagine Play project. We’re talking to neighborhood groups to see where and when
these meetings should be held, but we’ve chosen a design team, and as the
process moves forward, public input will be our focus in 2013.”
that residents should find that same renewed attention to community concerns
citywide where DPR is concerned. “There is currently a stakeholders group of
neighbors and concerned citizens working on recommendations. We expect those
recommendations to have real impact on how we do outreach in the future.”
After months of heated
debate, Denver City Council voted 10-3 (Councilmembers Jeanne Robb, Susan
Shepherd and Debbie Ortega opposed) to approve a land swap that would give Denver Public Schools nine acres
of park open space in southeast Denver in exchange for a DPS office building at
1330 Fox St. DPS is expected to build an elementary school on the land
currently part of Hentzell Park, while the city plans
to create a domestic violence resource center in the new Fox St. facility.
Although District 4 Councilwoman Peggy
Lehmann and DPS are pleased with the chance to provide needed elementary school
seats in the southeast area, parks advocates felt the precedent of trading away
parkland for non-park uses is a slippery slope that could lead to further
attrition in the future.
Lehmann told The Profile
that she will meet soon with DPS and the city to
determine the next steps in the process. Rumors have been surfacing, said
Lehmann, about a potential citizen initiative that would put the issue on the
For information: denvergov.org/dpr; denvergov.org/citycouncil; or dpsk12.org.