INC’s PARC (Parks And Recreation Committee) met March 21 at Brookdale, 2020 S. Monroe St. Present were co-chairs Cindy Johnstone and Maggie Price, George Mayle, Amber Clark, Brad Cameron, Marlene Johnson, Sonia John, Helene Orr, Nancy Francis, Hank Bootz, Derek Cocovinis, Ronnie Crawford, James T. Sample, Ray Ehrenstein, Greg Sorensen, Diana Helper, Kathleen and Jay Rust. Guests from the Office of Special Events (Office of Special Events OSE) were Fred Weiss, Katy Strascina, Grace Ramirez, David Ehrlich from Anschutz Entertainment Group, and Councilman Jolon Clark.
PARC was reminded that the portion of this meeting regarding a proposed large music festival at Overland Golf Course site was strictly to be focused on “process.” This appeared to mean both the current process OSE is going through to make a decision on permitting this event, and a more permanent process to follow for future situations like it. If a contract is signed it will be for a period of 5 years. A great amount of time and energy already has been expended in OSE meetings with numerous groups to garner input. A survey will be on line soon to receive responses from many more people. David Ehrlich and OSE brought its first map of the golf course area, to show proposed entry, parking, stage area, and so on, to be enhanced later.
The usual concerns over large events in public parks are all present plus the welfare of the golf course and golfers, and the neighborhood, with an announced attendance of 30,000-60,000 people for three days on this site, the 5-6 weeks of course closure in the summer golf season, and more time to redo the course beyond that. PARC brought up the importance of highly evaluating community support or lack thereof, what is ultimately best for welfare of the city, the matter of public trust in the city, and the major fact that with a proper Festival Park such events would be taken care of and the OSE could spend its time addressing many other public park event issues.
As for the current process, OSE is getting personal input, studying what might be the realities of parking, traffic, sound, lights, safety, damage, trash, control, and other problems, how to mitigate them (or the possibility/impossibility of doing so), attempting transparency to the public of its findings as they occur, including legal decisions, estimated costs and revenue, other basic information the public needs to be aware of. For the permanent process to make any future such event permit decisions simpler, we recommended immediate steps to get a Festival Park underway, and meanwhile, after this event is decided one way or another, formalize the best of this long planning process using what is learned during it. Public input and questions may be sent to OSE at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information as well as frequently asked questions can be found here. https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/office-of-special-events/music-festival-opportunity-at-overland-golf-course.html
A audio transcript of this portion of the meeting can be listened to below. Please press the play arrow to hear.
Brad spoke about Park Hill Golf Course, which maybe for sale. It is not owned by the City and County of Denver. Currently Clayton Early Learning owns the golf course, which is approximately 155 acres in size and is located on the east side of Colorado Blvd. a little ways north of Martin Luther King Blvd. This property has been a golf course for almost 100 years, and since 1997 has been under a 20 year lease to a private golf course operator. Brad presented a draft resolution to be taken to the Delegation and if passed sent to the Mayor and others requesting that the City include this purchase in the General Obligation Bond Issue, to obtain the site for Park use. With a few minor changes after discussion, a unanimous vote was taken present to delegation. The resolution is HERE.
Jay commented about the lack of notification given to the surrounding RNOs by OSE/DPR regarding the 4-20 celebration planned for Cheesman park, which was subsequently canceled.
PARC discussed and voted unanimously in favor of sending a letter to City Council members to restate our continued opposition to admission based events in Denver Parks and make yet another call to creating a Denver Festival Park. A letter of appreciation was read to be sent to Aaron Goldhamer for his commitment to preserving City Park Golf Course as a park use. It also received a unanimous vote.
Hank Bootz reported that his RNO City Park Friends and Neighbors are still attempting to raise additional funds for the legal battle surrounding City Park Golf Course. Contributions can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/cityparklegalfund
Jay reported on PRAB “There are many sections of the revised adopted Rules & Regs. events permitting policy that addresses criteria for permitting, revocation of permits etc. Many sections state manager may consult with city council and neighborhood/public for input. I asked Happy what does “MAY” mean, how would that apply? Happy indicated that of course she would consult with council the community but there may be times that that would not be possible. (this is a brief summary — there was a lot of back and forth) City council and neighborhood/public are listed on the same line.”
Jay made the motion at PRAB to adopt the revised Rules & Regs. Three members voted no because the policy is too restrictive and presents difficulties for event organizers.
Kathleen comment: not one word about public input/review/engagement in Revised Game Plan
PARC agreed members must try to go to City Council meetings and keep in touch with Councilpersons.
The next PARC meeting will be Tuesday, April 18, 6:00 p.m. at Brookdale. -Diana Helper