Zing! A billet-doux for all the fine UP neighbors who spend countless hours studying, pondering, meeting, discussing, writing and opining to “perpetuate and enhance the integrity of the University Park Neighborhood.” This includes those who are slogging through draft after draft to ensure that the city’s proposed new zoning code reflects the desires of the UP Plan. It is also all UP folks who take such interest in maintaining and improving our parks and trails, and in protecting UP’s character and preserving its historic elements. It is the many working for pleasant and safe conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists, and those engaged in the work of communications, outreach and neighborliness in UP. And it is UP folks who are deeply engaged in connecting to the broader picture of neighborhoods throughout Denver. The INC (Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation) meets in UP Sat., Feb. 13, 9a.m., at the Heritage Club, 2020 S. Monroe; all are welcome.
Zing! A valentine to our variety of schools, businesses, places of worship and other institutions that make UP such an eclectic and inclusive place. And to all residents, whose demographic shows such a broad stratum of age, income, race, occupations and talents. To our neighbors west of South University Blvd., with whom we so often partner on DU and other matters of joint importance. Remember – Star Gazing at Chamberlin Observatory: Feb. 20. And to the city staff and Council members who are attentive to our ideas, plans and neighborhood concerns. NOTE: DU Basketball Team Reading Event is at UP School Feb. 10, and the school’s night at a DU basketball game is Feb. 18. School fundraisers at Noodles, 1502 S. Colorado Blvd., Feb. 15, 5-9p.m. Scholastic Book Fair is 3-5p.m., Feb. 11-18.
Twang! You may be wondering when all this sweet zinging will turn to some real “zingers” aimed at those souls who seem to be marching to a different drummer. That is, the folks who have a different opinion than yours (um, ours) regarding OpenAir Cinema (OAC), activating the parks, letting dogs run free, fencing off parts of parks and charging admission to get in there, seeming to go against the City Charter, further reducing parking-space requirements, neglecting to notify citizens and stuff like that.
ZingZingZing! Maybe the operative word here is opinion. Cupid’s arrow probably isn’t quite enough. Opinions come from combinations of facts, figures, promises, hopes, hearsay, innuendoes, critical thinking, creative imagination, talk-show-hosts, fortune cookies and a desire to get the darn thing settled. However, one way to adjust an opinion is to understand the reason it is held, and offer a good solid alternative. In these economically trying times the city is trying to think up how to save money or get more money. So there is the reason for many of the proposals we find distressing, and it behooves us to offer alternative ways of saving money – and adding new money.
Splat! This has been in our face lately as the city seeks to use the parks as money-makers. The people support parks with taxes, and the idea Forever has been that the people have free access to parks. A number of UP residents attended City Council as it heard pros and cons on Denver signing a contract with an international movie presentation company to fence off part of Civic Center for 50 days next summer and show huge-screen movies to 1,400-folks-per-night (for 30 consecutive nights) sitting on bleachers with a catered supper, for $20 ($15 in advance). Cash bar. Parking extra. Parks gets $300/night plus a cut of the seat tax.
Many speakers felt this was not worth the disruption of the park and exclusion of the majority, that it sets a bad precedent of fee-based events closing parts of parks, and that it was against the City Charter. Others thought it was not only a money maker but a way to clean up and “activate” that park, hoping moviegoers would stroll outside their fence at the northwest corner of the park and scare away the scary element. (At least for 30 evenings – the other 20 days are set-up/tear-down, with the movie people cleaning up the site as well as improving the irrigation system in that area.) The final report will tell the tale regarding cost/income and activation.
Bingo! The contract includes two more summers, at City Park, so we’ll have lots of opportunity to take our visitors to our parks and show them Denver’s beauty and bleachers -- because about midnight Council voted in favor 8-4. UP’s Charlie Brown was absent. Jeanne Faatz, Doug Linkhart, Paul Lopez and Judy Montero were the four. These movies are for adults, not kids, so bring your kids to the park and have your own parties – that’s a way to activate parks for free! Denver Musicians Union members suggest there is plenty of local talent to provide park entertainment, too. The city believes folks will come to the $20 films because last summer a lot showed up for the free films at Skyline Park. Ah for the halcyon days of the Show Wagon, and the Denver Post Free Summer Opera at Cheesman Park.
Target! In UP folks save the city money by being generally cooperative, neat and tidy, law-abiding, and sharing their ideas, time, talent and even money on some occasions. Now join the fun in finding ways to save more, and even bring in some new bucks, and “activate” parks. When we helped with the Civic Center Plan years ago there was a fine list of events to make it a place for all folks, with open markets, kiosks, cafes, art shows, music, dance, crafts, family days, “summer Sundays,” buskers, book-readings and much more, mostly free and with citizen participation. Last year neighborhoods saved Parks about $300,000 by an INC (Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation) plan to take over the dog-bag-dispenser care. Perhaps there are more such plans, or free-will offerings, or a drive to raise $$ for Parks, or a lot of money is actually saved by the new Park Steward program (citizens doing park tasks), or – here is where you activate your brain and aim at the love of our great parks and how to keep them open and free and inclusive and beautiful. (If you really like closing off park space and charging fees to get in, please ask for adherence to the City Charter and an official vote of the people to do so.)
Ka-Ching! Many slings and arrows are out there headed for the funnybone. To get more money from the OAC patrons – we’re told movies start at 8 or 8:30 when it’s still light – so moviegoers could purchase the first hour of the film they hadn’t been able to see properly to view later! Ka-ching! Traffic noise on Bannock behind bleachers might be a problem (especially if people have signs HONK if you love [free] movies!) so toll could be charged! Ka-Ching! With the influx of affluent moviegoers, drug dealers should prosper aiding the economy, ka-ching! And activating the park! Hang a screen on the back of the bleachers with a movie shown free to folks sitting on the City/County Bldg. steps, free-will offering after! Ka-Ching! T-shirt sales: PRICEY FLIX IN PARKS – NO OFFENSE! or NO PRICEY FLIX IN PARKS – NO FENCE! ka-chingching! If dogs with specially purchased tags are set free in parks, fence off areas for regular folks to retreat, with a specially purchased tag of course! Fence off playgrounds –tagged kids only! Long live the ka-ching!
If you have brilliant ideas, and we’re sure you do, or news and views of UP, please contact Diana Helper, 303-733-4902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.