Washington Park alcohol ban pushed to address "belligerent drunken behavior"

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Photos and more below.
Washington Park is without question one of Denver's favorite parks. But is this status endangered by the bad behavior associated with alcohol?

That's among the assertions made in a letter by Denver City Councilman Chris Nevitt, who's calling for a ban on alcohol in the park.

Continue for more information, including some push-back from a prominent Wash Park organization.

Nevitt's letter is addressed to Lauri Dannemiller, executive director of Denver Parks & Recreation. He begins by arguing that Washington Park is "perhaps the most popular park in the Denver parks system...a wonderful amenity to live near." However, he sees flaws in this urban gem.

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Chris Nevitt.
The complete document is below. But here's a key excerpt:
Over the last several years, however, acceptable inconvenience has metastasized into an almost constant barrage of unacceptable abuse. As you know, last summer, my office and yours fielded a constant stream of complaints: trash strewn across the park and in surrounding neighborhoods; overflowing portable toilets despite multiple additions of toilets by your office; belligerent drunken behavior in the park and in surrounding neighborhoods; loud and occasionally violent confrontations; public urination in the park and in surrounding neighborhoods; cars parked in front of driveways and blocking sidewalks and alleys; shouting matches in the street between nearby residents and park users parked, peeing, or littering illegally. Not only have these issues had profound impacts on the residents living adjacent to Washington Park, but they have also seriously eroded the vital family-friendly quality of one of our City's finest parks.
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Another angle on Washington Park.
According to Nevitt, "All these issues share a common theme: they are all either directly caused or badly exacerbated by alcohol."

As Nevitt acknowledges, neither Washington Park nor other parks in the Denver system are liquor free-for-alls. Indeed, only 3.2 percent or lower alcohol is allowed. But he maintains that "this mild prohibition" is too weak to address the growing problems at Washington Park.

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Gordon Rulon.
Nevitt's office is hosting a meeting about the topic at 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, at the Denver Baha'i Center, located near the intersection of Bayaud and Grant, and members of the Washington Park Tennis Club are expected to be in attendance. In a note to members, WPTC president Gordon Rulon writes:
Being responsible adults, I believe the below proposal is extending Denver Parks and Recreations' authority beyond what makes common sense. If there have been problems in the past with abuse, then address the offenders, not park users as a group.

The park is a wonderful place to enjoy the freedoms of nature, activities, etc. and should remain as such.

Here's Nevitt's letter.

Chris Nevitt Letter About Banning Alcohol in Washington Park

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Best of Denver archive: "Photos: Ten best parks for doing just about anything in Denver and beyond."


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42 comments
Heather Batmo Biel Doane
Heather Batmo Biel Doane

By her logic, children should be banned in restaurants (especially nice ones), movie theaters, and finer establishments because some parents can't/won't control them. Who needs children in places where grown adults go to enjoy the ambiance, food and, gasp, adult beverages? I mean, if everything is contingent upon families and young children and negates EVERY OTHER MEMBER OF SOCIETY (single folks and childless couples certainly don't pay taxes to use PUBLIC parks), then we can go down that road. You're right, Eric: fallacies abound.

Eric Matthews
Eric Matthews

You're an idiot. If you're not being a problem than you shouldn't be made one. Your logic is a complete fallacy. Why is it that you need to use that "one retard" to justify a city wide ban? People can have some drinks or even plenty of drinks around children and be fine. It's your right as an adult to make choice as long as you aren't harming anyone else. Seriously you're the problem with society, thinking the government needs to be a god damn baby sitter so your kids don't have to experience the truth of the real world. You're the reason prohibition still exist and why they're dry county's and people locked up in jail wasting tax dollars because they use a substance you don't agree with. Also restaurants serve liquor, amd yet families and kids go there? By your logic restaurants shouldn't serve liqour because there's a chance, a teeny tiny chance that "one retard" is going to take it the mile. Jesus you're the fucking retard and you shouldn't be procreating if this is the type of logic you're going to instill upon this world. I can't believe you posted such garbage and no one replied to the idiocy of your blatant disregard for freedom of choice and freedom of the individual.

Wesley Honegger
Wesley Honegger

It's not about the liquor, it's about keeping out certain types of people.

Jon Ackelson
Jon Ackelson

Can't evaluate. I have only observed people, families using the park in what has speared to be a responsible manners except for the ever present few

Samantha Leigh
Samantha Leigh

Take Wash park all you want, just don't touch Cheesman and City!

Tracy Stauffer
Tracy Stauffer

Guess we'll b hanging at city park from now on!!! Matt Leising

Matt Leising
Matt Leising

Terrible idea! Having drinks in the park with friends and BBQ'n in the summer is where it's at! There hasn't been a ton of issues from it so why try to fix something that isn't broken?

Jenny Tossie
Jenny Tossie

I love this! I think ALL public parks should be banning alcohol completely. Dont get me wrong, i love my liquor just as much as the next moron.....but there are way too many dumb asses that dont know how to control their liquor, give em and inch....they'll take a mile. Theres always that one retard who will mess it up for everyone else. Who needs alcohol at public places anyway where some people take their families and young children?? You wanna drink that bad......do it home........or a bar. Problem solved. Kudos Washington Park!

Dustin Tryon
Dustin Tryon

The only thing that should be ban is 3.2 beer in general!!

Mane Rok
Mane Rok

I mean, considering how they treat folks in parks like Sloans which aren't as...yeah, you already know.

Jake Rice
Jake Rice

Stop penalizing people for what's in their hand or bag and correct bad behavior by those who don't respect the park or people in it.

John McLaughlin
John McLaughlin

We are in the new Denver. Basically, everything is illegal. This town has become a piece of shit!

Brandon Wyatt
Brandon Wyatt

Ban volleyball! Pricks take over that damn park and leave no room for anything like frisbee or football or freeze tag. I just want play freeze tag without getting hit by a volleyball. Dammit!

Eddy Kat's Gift Shack
Eddy Kat's Gift Shack

Aahh, Wash Park, I remember when I was younger and the all friends would go down, smoke a blunt and chill. This was before "It" passed. I'm a native you see. If booze is a problem, then it's a problem, because let's face it, booze is a problem.

A Chris Heismann
A Chris Heismann

Why don't we focus on holding people accountable for their behaviour rather than objects and substances?

Matty Plumlee
Matty Plumlee

This is my fav park that I've lived next to for 4 years. The only time I thought that their may be to many public drunk people and not enough bathrooms was 4th of July last year. I think on special holidays they should bring in extra bathrooms and security for the public.Don't punish the people enjoying the park, just the offenders.

Sher Quintana
Sher Quintana

Allowed!! Please like everyone only drinks 3.2 in the parks! People are gona drink what ever when ever..what about all those brown paper bags stumbing around in all the parks and on all the streets...we can only allow 3.2 permits or no alchohol at all but we dont have the police force to inforce that!

Cory Hill
Cory Hill

Come to city park! Turnt up!!!

Natalie Edwards
Natalie Edwards

Please put our tax dollars to something useful. Enjoying beverages on a summer day with friends is not something worth enforcing.

Clayton Capra
Clayton Capra

I would speculate that people who are causing issues are drinking real alcohol and not just the 3.2. Banning it altogether won't stop that. If one wants to drink or smoke a joint, there's not much they can do to stop that except have everyone in the park under surveillance 24/7. Good luck with that.

Dustin Stern
Dustin Stern

Let the bros continue to bro down at wash park. If this gets passed I'm afraid they'll infest my park of choice and then I'll have to deal with them.

Kevin Doyle
Kevin Doyle

I've never really noticed a problem there.

Tina Skopliak
Tina Skopliak

Alcohol isn't the problem. It's all that fucking volleyball.

Andrew Williams
Andrew Williams

I like to get drunk, but I like to drive all the way across the city to hang out drinking with all other pretentious little shits at the park, I also can't handle my 3.2 beer like a god damn adult, so therefor I need to litter, shit in alleys and be a general drunken mess to maintain my social status and integrity, don't mind me stopping on the bike path to take a wasted selfie, I'm much more important than you and I'm so drunk you won't hit me... Wrong you little hipster fucks... Go infest another neighborhood.

Troy Bratton
Troy Bratton

I'm sure banning alcohol will put a definitive end to being drunk in the park. They should also make drugs illegal. And speeding. Too much speeding.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Those damn belligerent Ultimate Frisbee players !

davebarnes
davebarnes topcommenter

Chris Nevitt is a twit.

He plans to run for Mayor and this in merely one step in raising his public profile.

Bob_Smith
Bob_Smith

Ban alcohol and then the city has to hire people to enforce the ban - but it could just hire them, without the ban, to enforce rules already in place. I think this is just empty pandering, an attempt to seem to do something without real action

JJFoxBox
JJFoxBox

Oh gawd yeah, please ban volleyball while you're at it. And overweight people too! Oh, I don't like the lollygagging looks I get from students at South High School either, can we ban them too, please?

seriously....
seriously....

you want family time so bad.......do it home.........or gymnastics class

seriously....
seriously....

and the joggers.  and walkers.  and bikers.  mostly really just all the people though.  if we could only get rid of them.....

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Bob_Smith  ... they already enforce the No Marijuana laws, so might as well add Alcohol to the enforcement.


Remember -- the lying liars who wrote A64 used the false claim of Regulating Marijuana LIKE Alcohol.



michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@JJFoxBox  Love the post, JJ. We're going to feature it as an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks.

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