Wash park will not ban alcohol, city leaders say

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A potential ban on all alcohol consumption in Washington Park will be up for a public debate on April 9, 2014.

Washington Park in Denver.

DENVER — The City of Denver announced a plan Tuesday to improve Washington Park including several changes. However, the controversial proposal to ban alcohol at the park was not among them.

Denver parks officials and police plan to issue more citations for misbehavior and organized activities including volleyball will now need a permit on weekends and holidays. Details about the permit system were not released, but were described as “drop-in.”

“This has been a joint effort to solve a variety of pressing issues,” Mayor Hancock said in a statement. “We are committed to delivering a better experience for all of Denver’s residents who enjoy Washington Park’s amenities as well as for our residents who live next door to the park.”

The changes are scheduled to start Memorial Day Weekend and include:

  • Establish a drop-in permit system for volleyball and other multi-person organized activities on weekends and holidays.
  • Increase the servicing of existing portable bathrooms and make plumbed bathrooms available for additional hours, including after-hours for Washington Park Recreation Center bathrooms.
  • Direct park visitors to the availability of free parking in the South High School parking lot.
  • Place permanent and moveable signage around the park to remind park users and visitors that only 3.2 percent beer, and no liquor or glass, is allowed in the park.
  • Increase right-of-way enforcement in the adjacent neighborhoods to ticket vehicles illegally parked in driveways or in handicapped spaces.
  • With signage and volunteers in place, Denver Park Rangers will view rule violations, including alcohol violations, with less tolerance and issue more citations for violations.
  • Increase Park Ranger patrol; deploy two full-time rangers in Washington Park on weekends.
  • Deploy DPD Mounted Patrol on high-traffic weekend days and holidays; ramp up DPD general enforcement for the park area on all weekends and holidays.
  • Reinforce DPR education and enforcement efforts with volunteer efforts from neighbors and patrons, through independent social media and “courtesy patrols” in the park and surrounding neighborhoods.

“It is clear that the activities and the sheer number of people gathering at Washington Park, especially on summer weekends, have increased dramatically over the past few years,” Executive Director Dannemiller said. “These new measures will, we hope, restore the quality experience that park-goers and residents should both expect.”

Denver Parks and Rec had considered an alcohol ban for the park after neighbors complained about trash and drunken behavior.