If the sweeping new rule change in Denver parks hasn’t been on the forefront of your summer planning, there’s a good reason for that.
“We haven’t had great weather,” said Cyndi Karvaski, spokeswoman for Denver Parks & Recreation. “That means less people using the park, less violations or citations, and less awareness of the new rule.”
That may have been true in recent weeks, but things are changing. Warm, sunny forecasts have drawn an increasing amount of visitors to Denver’s sprawling parks system, which spans 350 mountain, plains and urban parks in four Front Range counties. When those visitors arrive, they’ll benefit from a newly streamlined law that allows them to legally consume full-strength beer, wine and champagne without fear of citation.
That wasn’t the case as recently as late December, just before the rule change took effect, when only 3.2 beer was allowed in city parks. An untold number of people had already been flaunting that rule over the years, and even those who did get caught were let off with warnings. But when the state legislators made it legal for 1,600 grocery stores, convenience marts and other formerly 3.2-only outlets to sell full-strength alcohol in Colorado last year, the parks department decided to update its own, occasionally controversial policy for the sake of simplicity and consistency.
Different parks often had different consumption rules, Karvaski said, which led to confusion and frustration among some visitors in the past. To get in line with the new retail law, the parks department surveyed nearly 5,000 people on the rule change and used the feedback to guide their policy. Of course, those respondents only represented a sliver of the total visitors to Denver’s parks, so updating visitors remains a priority.
“Even without the influx of new residents, people just don’t know,” said Bob Toll, who manages the parks system’s 45 rangers. This time of year — during the March-to-October busy season — Toll’s rangers canvas the parks at least twice a day, seven days a week. Late snow and generally wet weather have kept many people indoors or in the high country, so the rangers haven’t had many opportunities to remind people about the rule change.
“We haven’t had a lot of problems, but I do expect we’ll see more consumption as the days get warmer,” he said. “Very few of our contacts actually result in citations. We’re usually in education mode trying to remind people of how …
Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle