On Wednesday, Denver’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will hear public comment for a proposed new partnership policy between the parks department and outside entities.
Denver Parks and Recreation has increased the number of third-party services and programs at city facilities, necessitating formal policies. A 2014 audit concluded that such programming added value to the department's work, and that the city did not have the resources to provide many of the offerings.
However, auditors also reported that departmental management had concerns about the lack of guidance or personnel for such programming. The department subsequently hired a coordinator in 2015 to oversee administration of partnerships, which the draft policy defines as activities that provide benefits to Denver and the partner.
In the proposal, partner organizations or individuals would have to demonstrate appropriate insurance coverage and submit all activities to the department for review. The top tier of considerations for implementing a partnership includes whether an activity provides public benefits, engages people who might not otherwise use park facilities, and caters in part to “underserved or diverse” populations.
If a proposed activity displaces or appears to duplicate existing programming from the department, the city will evaluate whether there is a net benefit to allowing the program.
On a secondary tier of considerations, the parks department will determine whether an activity would result in “undue or over commercialization” of public space, including whether it would restrict the public’s access or “enjoyment” of a city facility. While not a priority, the department will also evaluate whether the proposed activity generates revenue for the city.
The department’s partnership coordinator and other staff will handle applications through much of the process, but in instances of major changes, proposals may go before the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, the mayor or the city council.
The public may provide comments about the policy on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the advisory board’s regular meeting in the Wellington Webb Municipal Building (201 W. Colfax Ave.), Room 4.F.6.