Updated rule allows wine and beer in Denver parks

New policy takes effect Jan. 1 under a one-year pilot program


Starting next year, full-strength beer and wine will be allowed in Denver parks, as the pilot for a new policy begins.

The Parks and Recreation Department is updating its alcohol policy to ensure rules are the same across all parks. Previously, full-strength alcohol was allowed in some parks while only 3.2 percent beer cans were allowed in others.

The policy still does not allow glass items into parks — all beverages must be consumed in cans.

Cynthia Karvaski, a spokesperson for the Parks and Recreation Department, said the department board recommended the policy be signed by executive director Allegra “Happy” Haynes during a July 11 meeting. The new alcohol policy will start on Jan. 1 and run through the end of the year. At that time Karvaski said the parks department, Denver Police and other city entities involved such as permitting offices, will review the policy to see if changes need to be made.

No alcohol can be sold in Denver parks without permits and licensing from the city. For more information on the new policy, go to https://bit.ly/2KBibYd

In a letter to Haynes, Maggie Price and Cindy Johnstone, co-chairs of the Parks and Recreation Committee of the Denver Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation, expressed concerns about the new policy, specifically regarding those permits. While the letter stated they would not make an official stand until the pilot period ends at the end of next year, the pair said they disagreed with the lack of a limit on alcohol and special events permits within the parks.

“The number of alcohol events in all parks on any day can significantly increase the need for supervision and enforcement,” they wrote. “There simply are not enough rangers to cover our parks to enforce the alcohol policy.”

The alcohol policy was first written in 2007. During a city council Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure committee meeting on June 26, Haynes told councilmembers that Parks and Recreation wanted to update the policy to make the permitting process less complicated and to have a single rule across all parks.


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