DENVER (CBS4)- Denver has 46 mountain parks, 22 of them are developed with facilities like picnic tables and bathrooms. This summer, budget cuts mean fewer picnic facilities on the grounds.
The parks are owned and run by the City of Denver, which has a $100 million deficit. Parks and Recreation must make up $4 million of that. City officials claim cutting back some facilities may help make up that shortfall.
Denver Mountain Parks was developed nearly 100 years ago, in 1912, as a place for hiking, fishing, and enjoying picnics. This summer, many of the tables will be gone, along with the grills.
“I’m a little sad. It’s going to be a parking lot, but I understand and should probably share my little park,” said Mountain Park visitor Adele Kroonenberg.
The entry to O’Fallon Park has been blocked to vehicles. The picnic tables have already been removed.
“Well, it’s going to make it pretty crowded this summer. We come up three to four times a year and most of the time in the summer all the tables are filled,” said Mountain Park visitor Gerry Scholten.
The City of Denver insists the removal of many picnic facilities will help save money.
“What it does is creates efficiency in how our maintenance staff are able to run the system. Maintenance of mountain parks is about 40 percent of the budget,” said Denver Parks spokeswoman Angela Casias.
Some parks are in obvious need of an upgrade, including Starbuck Park, O’Fallon Park and Corwina Park.
“There’s complete neglect of the park system and the priorities the way they are, it’s disappointing,” said former Mountain Parks Ranger Scott Bostick.
The closures will take place this summer and maybe 2012. In the meantime, picnickers are advised to bring a blanket.
Denver Mountain Parks does receive money from the Colorado Lottery and ticket sales at Red Rocks.