By Mark Ackerman
DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Parks and Recreation is recommending allowing full-strength beer and wine in parks starting in 2019.
Currently, only 3.2 beer is allowed in Denver’s parks. But, the legislature passed a new law that gives local governments the chance to make their own policies on alcohol on parks.
So, Denver Parks and Recreation is now recommending to council to allow both full-strength beer and wine for public consumption in 2019. Hard alcohol will remain prohibited for public consumption, but may be allowed at certain special events with liquor licenses. Glass bottles will also remain banned.
Council president Albus Brooks said the new policy opens the door for residents to bring beer and wine at events like Jazz in the Park at City Park.
“I’ve been asking, ‘please can we modernize our rules’,” said Brooks. “I’m so grateful. I know my constituents are appreciative.”
Before making the changes, Parks and Rec surveyed 4,450 residents who largely agreed with the idea of allowing full strength beer and wine in parks.
One survey participant responded wrote:
“My wife and I got married at the Boathouse in Wash Park and while we didn’t suffer without booze, it seemed a largely unnecessary restriction.”
Some survey respondents raised concerns:
“This proposed change will increase public intoxication and DUIs and risks leading to increased violence on the parks from the intoxicated people.”
No action by council is necessary to enact the rule changes.
The policy will sunset on Dec. 31 of 2019, to force a review of the policy and allow for revision of the rules if necessary.
Here are the survey results:
The new rules will also impact special events that serve alcohol. Currently different parks have different rules. Fred Weiss of Parks and Recreation told council the new changes will be uniform across the parks system.
“We want to eliminate all the distinctions about what can be served at what park,” said Weiss. “And, basically allow beer, wine, champagne and spirits at any event as long as they get the proper licensing.”