by Dave Felice
PARKS AND RECREATION ADVISORY BOARD
May 10, 2012
Imagine you live a block or two from a park where an event takes place.
Event operators know they aren’t allowed to use sound amplification before 8:00. But at 7:00, they start testing. Even with your windows closed, you hear the constant sound of “check 1-2-3, check, check” before you hear the actual event sounds. The police almost laugh if you complain of excessive noise. The single inspector for the noise ordinance normally doesn’t work on weekends. The 3-1-1 call center is closed on weekends.
Next, you notice you can’t park on your street because event-goers have taken all the space, even though there might be room for parking inside the park. You also notice it’s difficult to drive because cars are parked halfway into the intersections. Public Works will say it can’t issue “residence only” permits until a problem is demonstrated, and police won’t enforce parking rules. Even though the parking problem is well-documented as it is for City Park Jazz, nobody takes responsibility. You have no idea what to do when someone’s car alarm goes off.
You see people unloading all manner of seating and food and beverage containers. You may even see people toting their own a supply of illicit alcoholic beverages. At the park, you see people smoking tobacco and other substances.
You hear the sound of the event for several hours. Then, people start to stagger out of the park, talking loudly and slamming car doors. You notice some people relieving themselves and vomiting as they return to their vehicles. This may continue into the night, even after you want to go to sleep. Next day, you pick up the trash in your yard.
You reassure yourself that the suffering and disruption “activates” the park and prevents undesirable behavior . The majority of people who attended the event will go back to Highlands Ranch and never visit your neighborhood park until the next big event.
I assure you, this is not imaginary; this is reality. As stewards of the parks, you know proliferating sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages is wrong. You know admission events are wrong. Have the courage to do the right thing and keep parks for people, not profit.
If you do not deny the alcoholic beverage request for Ruby Hill, at the very least, require an independent audit from those who say they cannot afford to stage events without alcohol sales.