By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4) – La Alma Recreation Center is still closed following a deadly shooting last Wednesday. Denver Parks and Recreation has not said when they plan to reopen the space that many neighbors consider a refuge. There’s now a petition asking the city to continue operations.

On Monday afternoon CBS4 reached out to the city for an update.

(credit: CBS)

Denver Parks and Recreation said they are “not providing interviews at this time.”

The city says it closed La Alma Park and Recreation Center due to recent violence in the area. Jamie Torres, councilwoman for District 3, told CBS4 closing the recreation center isn’t the answer.

Torres was not consulted before the rec center closed, has not received information on when it could possibly reopen or what’s being done to ensure the community’s safety moving forward.

“We haven’t heard what the plan is. I think that leaves a lot of community members wondering and not really sure what it means for a long-term closure of the of the park,” said Torres. “I think Parks and Rec needs to be a little bit more communicative on what it’s doing while it’s closed right now.”

She calls La Alma Park and Rec Center the “heart of that neighborhood.”

Torres says she was involved in the discussion behind La Alma’s last closure following area violence. After that incident, the rec center was closed for weeks.

In a statement to CBS4, Denver Parks and Rec says:

“Denver Parks and Rec is coordinating with the Denver Police Department and other city agencies to increase our efforts in keeping our parks and recreation centers safe.”

Police told CBS4 and Torres that it was not the Denver Police Department’s recommendation to close La Alma Park and Rec Center.

“The most recent incident was a tragic, and in my view, isolated incident. It wasn’t tied to neighborhood gangs or neighborhood instability, nothing like that,” said Torres.

(credit: CBS)

Neighbors who use the rec center told CBS4 they were disappointed to see it closed.

Torres says it would be helpful to know exactly what safety measures DPR is deliberating.

Denver police responded to the area of West 13th Avenue and North Osage Street Wednesday evening on a report of a shooting. The victim, 63-year-old Gary Arellano, died from his injuries.

Arellano, a longtime resident, was in the park when he witnessed a fight and was shot while attempting to break up the altercation.

His family started an online petition for the city to reopen the park he loved.

The petition says: “This is the last thing Gary would want to happen especially as a result of his death. La Alma Park and Recreation Center is a place he called home for over 40 years. We are asking the community to save our park and actively protect the families that frequent the facility.”

The petition already has more than 250 signatures. Torres says Parks and Rec should listen to what the community is asking for.

“They just want the park and the rec center back open. I think I agree with them on why because our rec centers and our parks are absolutely the places that give youth and our families a place to go,” said Torres. “People in this community deserve answers.”

Denver Parks and Rec left an entrance to the park by the sidewalk on 11th for people to access the playground and fitness zone.

DPR says the “La Alma Park and Recreation Center closure is temporary and will re-open when it is determined that the park and recreation center are safe for everyone to use.”

How Parks and Rec will determine that is still unclear.

Tori Mason