Blogger Criticizes Fee-based Park Events

(archived; originally posted at

Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Councils Greenlights Fee-Based Events at Public Parks

Once again, witness your tax dollars at work. Denver’s City
Council’s “courtesy” hearing on whether to allow a month-long
admissions-based outdoor film festival this summer in Civic Center
Park last night was a farce.Apparently over 500 people showed up for
the hearing. A reported 92 people signed up to speak. No matter. It
was a done deal (wink-wink) months ago and the public’s concerns fell
on deaf ears. Council approved the outdoor festival 8-4. Faatz, Lopez,
Montero, and Linkhart voted against the measure.

Plans call for the film festival to move to City Park in 2011. It
has been reported that other vendors with other events are eyeballing
other parks throughout town.

Indeed, people in Denver, who support the park through their tax
dollars, are concerned that the move will open the door to paid
admission events at parks throughout the city. Concerns surround
noise, garbage, parking, public urination, public drunkeness and the
fact that PUBLIC parks are designed to be free for the PUBLIC.

Critics of the OpenAir festival also believe it would violate the
City Charter by not asking voters to approve the contract. The City
Attorney’s office says an admissions-based policy would not require a
public vote.

Parks and Recreation says it is supporting the month-long outdoor
film festival proposed for Civic Center Park because parks planners
believe it would be a great way to activate the park. Okay. Maybe. But
do you really think the bums and drug dealers will scamper out of the
way for the people sipping wine and enjoying documentaries and films?
I suspect that panhandlers will see this as a golden opportunity. And
if movie attendees are flush enough to pay $15-$20 for a movie ticket,
you know that muggers are going to be wondering what else they’ve got.

Parks and Rec Dept. also is proposing to “activate” 10 parks,
four facilities and five special occasion sites via admissions-based
events. The parks have been the most controversial, including City
Park, Civic Center Park, Confluence Park, Denver Performing Art
Sculpture Park, Skyline Park, Sloan’s Lake Park, Central Park —
Stapleton, Parkfield Park, Ruby Hill Park and Lowry Great Lawn.

District 7 Councilman Chris Nevitt said he is in support of the
proposal as a means to activate Ruby Hill Park. Nevitt is actually
calling for a less restrictive policy by lowering the number of days
organizers would need to wait to obtain a second permit within a
period of time. He also believes a park should be allowed to host an
admissions-based event every other week, not every 15 days. To my
knowledge he has not mentioned anything about Washington Park.

But even if Washington Park isn’t part of the Park and Rec
Dept.’s current proposal, you know that concert promoters will be
eager to hold events there. Neighborhood associations will have to
work hard to ensure that our residential neighborhood stays admission-
fee free.

The Civic Center festival aims to provide fine food and wine from
local caterers along with the cinema experience. In addition to recent
releases, the festival would also include short films by the Denver
Film Society, as well as classic films and documentaries. Films would
be shown on a giant screen hydraulically raised to stand three stories
high with a 32-speaker surround sound system, according to OpenAir’s
Web Site.

Posted by Mrs Packer at 11:11 AM
Labels: admission-based events, Chris Nevitt, Denver City Council,
Denver Parks and Recreation

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