Why Denver parks deserve love, learning, and loyalty

City park gateway IMG_2467

In today’s Denverite, I learned an answer that I’ve always wanted to ask, if that makes sense. As reporter Ashley Dean noted:

“ ‘How much does the city collect by monetizing our parks? How much of that money is returned to parks?’

“Denverite reader Tom Morris asked those very questions.

“The short version is: A lot. And not much.”

Tom Morris is a long-time protector of Denver’s parks – especially City Park, because it is so full of activities, from the Denver Zoo to the Museum of Nature & Science. There are lakes, a beautiful pavilion, and all sorts of artwork. Over the years, the city has tried to add other things, but Tom Morris and his neighbors have been vigilant. I admire that work. Open space and room for contemplation are important as the city grows and attracts more residents.

The parks rake in a lot of money for fees for activities and rentals, but that cash goes into the city’s general fund (except for money needed to repair a park damaged by an event).

What also surprised me was that the recent Referred Measure 2A on the Denver ballot wasn’t a world-beater. It passed, but only by about 61% of the votes cast earlier this month (I was in the 39%). I am not a Scrooge: I feel protective of Denver’s parks and parkways. I also know the city wants every resident to have access to a park 10 minutes away from where they live, as laid out in Denver’s proposed Denveright Game Plan for a Healthy City. 2A will fund new parks, and also will provide support for maintenance and repairs. But my sense is that before we build more parks and trails, we first need to take care of the ones we have.

As for the photograph on this post: It is the 1918 Thatcher Memorial Fountain, created by noted sculptor Lorado Taft. The central figure has been described as “The State,” while the figures in small groupings represent Love, Learning, and Loyalty. It is just one of the many beautiful gateway elements, fountains ,and memorials within City Park.

Here’s the link to learn more:



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