(Thanks to Dick Young for letting us repost his powerful email.)
From: Dick Young
Sent: Monday, March 17, 2014 9:51 PM
To: Green, Jeff - PR Administration Division'
Cc: Gilmore, Scott M - PR Parks and Planning - PP'
Subject:RE: The Loop Project Planned for City Park
Jeff, I read your below e-mail and the attachments. As I requested, you sent me copies of all the news releases your Parks and Recreation Department sent out over the past two years about replacing the current Dustin Redd playground at City Park. But there was no indication of to whom these news releases were sent. You yourself admit that no article has ever appeared in the Denver Post, except one on December 7, 2013, which was about the December public meeting where there was a major outcry about putting this huge project into a park already crowded with the Zoo, the Museum, summer concerts and weekly runs. Parking is a huge problem. The plan for this huge new addition calls for only “street parking.” No wonder all surrounding neighbors are so up in arms.
Interestingly the major story run in December 2013 in Westward, which does have wide circulation, certainly carried much information that never before had been revealed by you. I have the two articles which appeared in the Greater Park Hill News in October of 2011, and April 2012. I believe there was also a later article which you do not mention,
In the very first paragraph of your quite long March 2, 2012 news release. you talk about replacing the current Dustin Redd Playground with “an innovative new playground…at the site of the current Dustin Redd playground.”
And who could argue with that, particularly the many who have tried to use the fixtures and playthings there at the site. The definition of “site” means a place where something is. Right? Your Department is well aware that it has permitted this existing playground to deteriorate to the extent that it is unusable and not safe, with always the excuse that Parks and Recreation does not have even enough money to repair it so it would be safe and usable.
But there can be no question that what Perks and Recreation was announcing was that it was going to replace those items there “at the site” with new, innovative playground equipment.
The only other news release you sent was an undated one but announcing the presentations of the three finalists for their ideas to “reshape the beloved playground at Denver’s City Park.” Again, this makes clear to any reader that this whole effort was about replacing the equipment at the Dustin Redd playground with innovative new equipment. Only in the last paragraph would a person who had access to this entire news release read that the proposed project was now projected to ”to be in the general vicinity of the existing Dustin Redd on City Park’s west side.” But this information was never publicized. This is a drastic change from being built at the site of the current Dustin Redd playground.
So, to me, it is obvious, based on your own few news releases that were put out and were not covered in our local main media, that your (Parks and Recreation) constant reiterations that you publicized all of this so all of Denver would know, is simply an untrue statement. Constantly repeating it as you and other Parks and Recreation people do. does not bring it any closer to the truth.
Your below e-mail indicates you were in attendance at the first public meeting in December where massive concerns were raised about this huge, below the radar, five million dollar project which would take over most of the western side of City Park. Many there, in fact to a person, stated unequivocally this project should not be built at City Park. Yes, some pointed out that there was no parking available for it. Yes, some pointed out its size was outlandish and would take over much of the cherished green grass and trees that make a park a park. Yes, some stated they did not want to see a bunch of aluminum or other material being used to build the “loop.” Yes, some stated that if Parks and Recreation cannot even maintain the little Dustin Redd playground,. how can anyone expect it to maintain a huge 5 million dollar project. I could go on and on, but anyone who claims people there were suggesting that by changing the color or using different material, or reducing the size just a little, would make it acceptable, simply wasn’t listening and are now trying to put lipstick on a pig to make it beautiful.
And the same thing happened at the very disorganized meeting at Bogey’s which you stated was only for stakeholders. No others could speak. No others could even eat the food provided. This appears, at least to many of us, to be a term that Parks and Recreation uses to say the Stakeholders have approved such and such. But I have asked for a list of the names and addresses of the Stakeholders, and Parks and Recreation cannot provide one. No minutes are kept; no votes taken at the Bogey’s meeting. A number of people were allowed to speak who were not stakeholders; some spoke who did not identify themselves. These people who represent various neighborhoods are very dedicated to keeping our parks as parks. They put in much volunteer time to try to accomplish this. They attend meetings and study various proposals. And again, to almost a person, all that spoke at the March 2, 2012 meeting, where supposedly only stakeholders were allowed to speak, said over and over, this project should not be built at City Park.
Now, what is very obvious is that Parks and Recreation is attempting to once again not have input from the people who will be most affected by this regional 5 million dollar effort, by (1) cancelling the previously announced meeting that was to be last week (without notice to the public, a number showed up for the meeting); and (2) by not announcing the replacement meeting to the public, but rather letting only a select few know of the meeting, and holding the meeting in the zoo (which means going through a gate with a ticket, and trying to find out where this closed meeting is being held . This clearly means you (Parks and Recreation) want to keep those people most affected by this proposal from even attending this meeting.
That is shameful. Political pressure is building in all the neighborhoods around City Park about you attempting to force this project down the throats of so many people. I can almost bet there will be political consequences to our City officials because of these blatant attempts of people on our city’s payroll to push this through, and by your actions which say: full speed ahead; to hell with the voters.
Richard E. Young
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
(Thanks to Dick Young for letting us repost his powerful email.)