Monday, March 19, 2007

Candidate Questionnaire: Liquor in Denver's Parks

Each campaign is invited to respond to the question below by adding a comment to this post. Answers may be submitted by candidates themselves or their direct representatives. This is not intended for an ongoing debate, so please: only one answer/response per campaign.
Last year, Denver Parks & Recreation allowed race sponsors to provide alcohol to participants as part of their event. The department is now requesting a change which would both comply with state laws and expand to the sale of alcohol. What is your position on the expansion of alcohol policies in Denver city parks?

1 comment:

Carla For Council said...

Last year all Denver Registered Neighborhood Organizations were asked about their opinion on liquor sales in the parks. In consideration was the licensing of events to sell beer, wine and champagne in a specific list of Public Parks across the city.

The response was an almost unanimous and resounding ‘no’.

The City’s compromise was to offer a very limited number of events licenses to sell liquor in each designated park each year. Some parks were precluded because of strong neighborhood opposition.
Initially race/walks were given permission to provide beer, wine and champagne to race participants after a race.
Excise and license then determined that this actually constitutes a sale because the alcohol was included with entry fees.
Because it is a sale, it has to be licensed. Because its licensed, the event organizers have to pay for security and fencing that open liquor sales require.
This constitutes a considerable expense and to help defer the costs, Excise and License is proposing that race/walks are allowed to sell to the public to increase revenue.

Basically, the Parks and Recreation Department is asking for us to support what feels like a back door way to sell liquor in the parks again.

This can potentially occur in every race on every weekend in every park. I assure you, the number of run/walks will surprise you. From the Polar Bear Run in January to the Resolution 5k in December, I count 61 walks or races on the incomplete list provided by the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs.

I would support this only if sales were restricted to the race/walk participants and their guests or if the number of races allowed liquor sales allowed were limited.

Why this is a significant issue to me personally.
I founded the City Park West Festival of the Arts, which became the City Park Festival of the Arts in 2001 and now is entering its 7th year as a state registered non-profit. Our mission remains to build a community event that helps build cooperation, community and encourages education. We have never sought to serve alcohol.
However, because of the present laws, we have had to consider applying for one of the 2 liquor licenses available to City Park events. They would be grand fathered, and perhaps some day we may choose to try a wine tasting area. If we do not apply now, we may never have that option.
At this point we have chosen to remain alcohol free.

Carla Madison
Candiate City Council District 8