Denver City Council committee to consider parks permit fee today -- after Times story

hickbike205.jpg
"No exercise groups of any size permitted in this area." Those signs started popping up around Denver parks this year, discouraging groups of early-morning runners and mid-morning mommies pushing strollers in syncopated workouts. The city's crack-down on organized exercise seems so ludicrous that it even rated a story in the New York Times on July 11, headlined "In Health Conscious-Denver, limits on group exercise." And this on the day that Governor John Hickenlooper was also announcing the Colorado Get Movin' Challenge, a thirty-day campaign to make this the healthiest state in the country, as residents committed to thirty minutes of exercise a day.

But not in groups in Denver, where Hickenlooper was the mayor until 2010.

The crackdown came last year, as more and more exercise classes started using the parks as their playgrounds. Some were organized by companies -- but other were just groups of friends getting together for some time outside.

According to the Times:

The city rules are clear: No commercial activity without a permit. Historically, those rules mostly applied to concerts, festivals, races and food vendors. But in the past few years, the growing popularity of group training programs like CrossFit has filled the parks with clumps of people doing yoga, running suicide sprints and crab-walking up and down hills until their lungs ache.

On weekdays, there are the moms. Last year, Caren Elenowitz took over a business called Stroller Strides, which runs daily workout seminars for mothers with young children. They jog around the park while pushing their strollers, do squats while cooing to their infants and strengthen their quads while singing "If You're Happy and You Know It." She charges mothers $55 for a month of classes.

Last year, after her community newspaper ran a story about Ms. Elenowitz's business, she said she got a call from Denver Parks and Recreation informing her that because she did not have a license, she could not run her workouts in Central Park in the Stapleton neighborhood.


Not surprisingly, people who use Denver's parks -- which is just about everyone in the city -- complained, and the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation held meeting after meeting, then came up with a plan that would create new a new system of fees and permits. Basically, groups will be able to run together, play games together. But as soon as money changes hands you'll need a permit.

_MG_4726-bike-to-work-denver.jpg
Kelly Kauodis
Mayor Michael Hancock on Bike to Work Day.

At 10:30 a.m. today, Denver City Council's Land Use, Transportation & Infrastructure Committee will discuss that new plan, which is contained in a proposed ordinance that would establish fees for private outdoor fee-based activity in defined park areas.

Lauri Dannemiller, the manager of the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation, will be on hand to discuss the proposal. The meeting in City Hall is open to the public -- but please, don't get all hot and bothered in groups.

More from our archives: "Bike to Work photo gallery, with John Hickenlooper and Michael Hancock."



Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
43 comments
Len Raphael
Len Raphael

Go Hick! come back to Oakland when you get tired of CO.

DougHubka
DougHubka

It is pretty simple. If you are running a business and the idea is to profit from it, The City should not pay for upkeep a and maintenance of the facility you are using.  I don't know why it would be unfair for the city to ask for some reimbursement of it's cost.  

Sher Quintana
Sher Quintana

Agree Jen.. any business using our Parks for profit should pay for a permit..

Roy Medina
Roy Medina

I understand what you people are saying about the permit but it says in the article "No exercise groups of any size permitted in this area." THAT MEANS YOU AND ME! STUPID Good like trying to be the healthiest State in the Country when you forbid people to Exercise JACKASS!

Jen Symank
Jen Symank

Exactly why a business should not just be allowed to use it for personal gain at no charge! Parks are for citizens to use not businesses!!

Jen Symank
Jen Symank

So your okay spending your tax dollars to maintain parks and open space while someone clearly takes advantage of the property for their own personal gain? I'm not, if they make money off the use of the park then the city and other taxpayers deserve a cut to help maintain the space!

Jen Symank
Jen Symank

In Denver you should be pulling a peddler's licence to sell anything in public space!

Christopher Fish
Christopher Fish

whos to say what an organized exercise group is. would a group of friends that meet everyday at the same time to exercise be considered organized or just a group of friends trying to motivate each other for a goal.

Melissa McKelvey
Melissa McKelvey

Way to focus on the really important things bureaucraps!

Evelyn Maria
Evelyn Maria

Any kind of exercise is good for our community, what if the exercise was given for free?

Steven Fowler
Steven Fowler

Politicians doing what they do best...being stupid...

Sher Quintana
Sher Quintana

Our taxes and lotto tickets we buy pay for OUR PARKS!!

Josh Bradley
Josh Bradley

Are you charging money? If not you have nothing to worry about. If you are you need to pay to play. Nobody else can operate a business without a permit and paid exercise groups should be included. Go ahead and call the ACLU, let me know how they react if you're operating a business without a permit ;) lol

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

You can get around this by not charging your "buddies" fees for group exercise in the parks, and then ask for "donations" in VERY specific amounts.  Of course, this might get you into some shit if you have to explain to the Tax Man the details of your income source.

Michael P Lee
Michael P Lee

Parading without a permit? Do you know who this is, man? This is Captain America. I'm Billy. We're headliners, baby.

Vikki Baker
Vikki Baker

Hickenpooper does it again... Time to start looking for a new place to play. Sean Miller

Grady Hines
Grady Hines

being considered one of the healthiest states in America is something all of us Coloradans are proud of. This is pathetic.

Mane Rok
Mane Rok

I hope Randy's ass does get swooped up so the ACLU can laugh at his stupid ass for trying to equate that to a real injustice.

Mane Rok
Mane Rok

That's horseshit. Folks shouldn't be charging for services on public land. C'mon now. What's ludicrous is the camping ban and the gentrification of the north side and soon the Swansea/Elyria neighborhoods. What's ludicrous is the fuck nuts who said they'd treat MJ like alcohol but are trying to tax at a 40% rate.

Kyle Huber
Kyle Huber

There should be nothing controversial about this. Having a for profit exercise group is the same as having a food cart and both should need a permit to operate on public property. People just getting together to run etc are not affected unless that too becomes a business. Public property does not and should not mean free office space.

Kenyon Anderson
Kenyon Anderson

Businesses should pay to use public amenities for their own private gain. If they don't want to pay a permit fee to Denver, let them buy their own land and build a park for their own use.

Joshua Adams
Joshua Adams

Totally reasonable to require businesses to obtain a permit to operate their business in a public space. If you saw a food truck roll up into the middle of City Park and start selling stuff, you'd assume that they have complied with the licensing necessary to do so. Same should go for your business if you operate it, or portions of it, on land that is public but does not belong specifically to you (i.e. parks). Probably an issue of liability as well. If anyone can just set up a business without permits and licensing that involves a public park as a critical component of it's function, who is liable if a runner in your paid exercise group were to shatter their knee on the pavement? You, the park, or the runner?

Jeff Ross
Jeff Ross

the ugly head of liability . insurance, lawsuits, etc. because we are a country of everyone wants free and easy money if they happen to get hurt.....

jenniferantoniou
jenniferantoniou

This is ludicrous - Parks are there for everyone to enjoy. Not just for hobo's and teen gangs to take up residence. People are being healthy, and by having these people meet in the park it helps keep the cost down for everyone. No expensive gym memberships. Just people getting healthy.... 

Echa Schneider
Echa Schneider

It doesn't seem unreasonable at all to me that people operating a business in a public space that is supposed to belong to everyone should have to pay a permit fee. I'm shocked that Denver didn't already have that. Every other city does.

Randy Kruman
Randy Kruman

I'll keep running my groups in the park and I really hope that they'll arrest me. First phone call goes to the ACLU!

Ronnie Galang
Ronnie Galang

Disagree that this is 'ludicrous.' I can't set up a booth in the middle of a park and sell my wares without a permit. Why should a legitimate business, like Stroller Striders, not have to pay like everyone else?

Alexandra Miller
Alexandra Miller

wtf so i can blaze up but my nana cant go to her morning jazzercise in the park?

Maat Human
Maat Human

freedom by permit only.. im sorry do you have a permit for that opinion?

Steve Antonio
Steve Antonio

Hickenlooser and Handjob can suck it. Worst Mayor and Governor in Colorado history.

DougHubka
DougHubka

@Christopher Fish Maybe you should look for the person collecting that cash . That might be a clue.

DougHubka
DougHubka

@Melissa McKelvey Another intelligent comment from the 8th grade readers.

WhirledPeasPlease
WhirledPeasPlease

@jenniferantoniou If someone profit$ from the free use of the parks, the city wants its cut. Groups can still exercise in the parks, but it has to be free to participants.

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

@Alex Millr If you blaze up, you'll be blazing up in a public area, which is a ticketable offense. 

WhirledPeasPlease
WhirledPeasPlease

@Alex Millr , Nana can jazzercise in the park if the class is free... or if her instructor pays the fee

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...