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Notice of Public Hearing to Update Public Event Policy

Notice is hereby given that the Department of Parks & Recreation for the City & County of Denver is proposing to update its Public Event Policy.

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) will hear public comments on this proposed revision on Wed. February 12, 2020 at 5:30 pm at the Board’s regular meeting, held at the Wellington Webb Municipal Building, located at 201 W. Colfax Ave., Room 4.F.6.

A copy of the current Public Event Policy, along with the proposed revised policy, is on file with the Manager of Parks & Recreation and accessible through the Denver Parks and Recreation website:

View the revised public event policy (PDF)

Final Alcohol Policy effective January 1, 2019 (PDF)

Notice of Public Hearing on Alcohol Policy Extension:

Notice is hereby given that the Department of Parks and Recreation for the City & County of Denver will extend its revised Alcohol Policy through 2020. The revised Alcohol Policy was made effective January 1, 2019 and was set to expire at the end of the year. The intent of the revised policy is to provide more clarity to permit holders and park users, and add consistency for permitted events. In addition, the revisions are intended to allow for the public consumption of wine and beer in Denver parks, addressing changes to state laws.

This revision will be extended through December 31, 2020, in order to allow more time to review the effects of the policy, and changed to a rule/regulation to satisfy enforcement requirements.

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will hear public comments on this revised policy on Wed. December 11, 2019 at 5:30 pm at the regular meeting of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. A copy of the current policy is on file with the Manager and accessible through the Denver Parks and Recreation website.

Read the current policy (PDF)


Public Survey

SURVEY CLOSED (4/23/2018): email to submit additional comments]

Review the full results summary (PDF)

For most of the questions asked in the survey, more than 50% of respondents agree with the proposed changes. This is the case both overall, and when divided out into three major age groups (40 and under; 41 to 60; and 61+).

In addition to the survey, DPR received numerous emails from the public and took feedback at a handful of neighborhood organizations meetings where a presentation was requested. The comments and questions received at these meetings is summarized in the report as well. 


Background Information

Denver Parks & Recreation's (DPR) alcohol policy was established in September 2007, and amended in May 2011, February 2012 and May 2012, resulting in the current policy which is overly-complicated and inconsistent.

In an effort to simplify how rules and regulations are enforced at DPR facilities across the city, a revision to the DPR Alcohol Policy is being proposed and your feedback is wanted.

The intent of these proposed revisions is to:

  • Simplify the policy
  • Provide more clarity to park users and permit holders
  • Consistently implement policy requirements in facilities throughout the city
  • Accommodate upcoming changes to state liquor laws

Revision summary: 

  1. Permitted events (public, private, races/walks, and athletic tournaments) would be treated the same when it comes to selling and serving alcohol. Events would be allowed to sell or serve all types of alcohol, ending restrictions in some parks where beer, wine and champagne only are allowed. 
  2. All DPR parks would be able to host permitted events where alcohol is served or sold. Other standard restrictions would remain in place, such as permit requirements, public event rulesrest periodsnoise regulations, and capacity limits.
  3. All permitted events held at DPR buildings (event facilitiesgolf clubhouses, and recreation centers) would be treated the same when it comes to serving or selling alcohol. Events would be allowed to sell or serve all types of alcohol, ending restrictions in some buildings where beer, wine and champagne only are allowed, with the exception that such permitted events in recreation centers must be closed to the public.
  4. Events such as demonstrations and assemblies (protests, marches) will be prohibited from acquiring a permit to serve or sell alcohol.
  5. References to 3.2% beer will be removed from DPR rules and regulations. Public consumption in Denver parks and open areas will follow Colorado State law. In 2019, state law will no longer require a designation for 3.2% beer, likely ending the distinction from full-strength beer.

Read the full list of proposed revisions (PDF)

Questions? Pease send an email to


Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the policy being revised?
The purpose of the revisions is to eliminate inconsistencies that exist throughout the current policy, align the policy with changes to state liquor laws, and add a variety of restrictions and requirements. This uniformity will improve regulation and enforcement.

What does it mean to “permit” a park for an event?
Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) issues a variety of permits to reserve all or a portion of a park for various activities. These include public events, races and walks, picnics, assemblies, athletics, etc. There are restrictions and requirements associated with a permit depending on the permit type, location, and the associated activity. To obtain a permit, an application must be submitted to the DPR Permitting Office that ensures that the request meets all restrictions and requirements. Details of the process along with the associated restrictions and requirements can be found at

What needs to be done to sell alcohol at an event?
If an event meets all DPR restrictions and requirements, a “Pending Permit” is issued. The applicant takes the “Pending Permit” to the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses and applies for a liquor license. Denver Excise and Licenses processes the application and approves or denies the license request based on the applicable liquor laws.

Do the proposed changes to the DPR policy mean that I will be able to drink any type of alcohol in parks?
The answer falls into two categories.

  • General public consumption – Starting in 2019, the types of alcoholic beverage able to be consumed will be governed by the regulations disseminated by the State of Colorado or the City and County of Denver, if the governor signs the pending state legislation. Until December 31, 2018, only 3.2% beer (in cans) can be consumed by the public in Denver parks.
  • Permitted Activity- With the propose changes, any type of alcoholic beverage would be allowed to be served and/or sold at private, by invitation only, events (special occasion permits). Any type of alcoholic beverage would also be allowed to be served and/or sold at public events if the appropriate liquor license is obtained. Other types of permitted activity (such as certain athletic and demonstration/assembly permits) would not allow serving or selling any alcoholic beverages.

Do the proposed changes to the policy mean that our parks will have bars or facilities that sell alcohol in our parks and recreation centers to the public?
No. The proposed policy only addresses permitted activity and general consumption. Any commercial food and beverage is managed via a concession license and must be approved by Denver City Council.

Do proposed changes mean that there will be unlimited events in parks?
No. The proposed policy only governs what can occur at events in relation to alcoholic beverages. All rules and guidelines governing how many and what types of events can occur remain in place including DPR’s rest period program.

Will the number of races and runs in parks increase with the proposed policy changes?
DPR does not expect an increase in the number of races and runs in parks due to the proposed changes to the alcohol policy. However, DPR will monitor this issue and can implement additional limits beyond DPR’s rest period program if needed.

What implication will the proposed changes have on enforcement for Denver Park Rangers and Denver Police?
DPR has discussed the proposed policy changes with both DPR Park Rangers and Denver Police. We do not anticipate that these policy changes will result in significantly increased demand on these resources. We will be monitoring this and will modify the policy if the impact is excessive.

Would this policy change lead to competition with the bars and restaurants surrounding parks?
DPR does not believe this policy change will impact bars and restaurants surrounding parks. Only attendees would be able to purchase alcoholic beverages at an event, as is currently the case where alcoholic beverages are sold at events.

If the proposed changes are approved, will they be monitored over time?
Absolutely. All affected city agencies (DPR Permitting, DPR Park Rangers, Denver Police, Denver Excise and Licenses) will be monitoring any impacts of the new policy and a formal review will occur at the end of the 2019 event season. Modifications will be made to the policy at that time if necessary.

Will glass bottles still be prohibited?
Yes, glass bottles in the park will still be prohibited.

Will this impact me playing softball with our “beer league”?
As is currently the case, the permit holder (league organizer) cannot sell or serve alcoholic beverages. The ability for individual participants to bring their own alcoholic beverages will be governed by the “general public consumption” section of the policy (please see the answer to question #6).

How will the proposed rule of no alcohol within 50 feet of playgrounds work?
The distance between playgrounds and alcohol serving stations will be verified via a site map and/or an on-site, pre-event inspection.

Where do picnic sites fit into this policy change?
The sale or serving of alcoholic beverages will be prohibited in association with a picnic permit. Consumption of alcoholic beverages will be governed by the “general public consumption” section of the policy (please see the answer to question #5).

Is this being done to please commercial interests?
No. The only type of liquor license that is available for park events is a Special Event Liquor License and only non-profit organizations can obtain this license. Commercial entities cannot obtain this license.

Will DPR and the city make money from having more events with alcohol?
Permit fees collected are intended to cover the cost of administering events. Since DPR does not anticipate a significant increase in events, we do not expect the revenue associated with permits to increase.

Why do Washington Park and Sloan’s Lake have different rules in the first place?
There were specific circumstances in these parks when the alcohol policy was initially implemented that prompted the DPR Manager at the time to modify the rules for these parks.

Will kegs be allowed in the park?
No. Kegs will not be allowed in Denver parks.

Does City Council need to approve this policy change?
Denver City Council does not approve this change in this DPR policy. Under the Denver City Charter, rules and regulations for Parks and Recreations are promulgated by the Parks and Recreation Department. Denver City Charter vests the authority to establish rules and regulations for Parks and Recreation to the DPR Manager (Executive Director). City Council members, however, have been briefed and have provided input into the policy. A briefing will be made to the Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Council Committee prior to the policy’s formal adoption.

Will the policy change restrict public access to parks?
No. Events that require a ticket for entrance are governed by DPR’s Admission Based Event Policy.

Effective April 15 - October 15, 2019: Denver Parks & Recreation (DPR) is implementing a 180-day Rule Directive that will allow e-vehicles on Denver trails and park facilities. During this pilot period, DPR will evaluate how e-vehicle use can safely interact with other park activities.

Read the full 180-day Rule Directive. (PDF)

E-vehicles have become increasingly popular in the past couple of years, prompting city agencies and officials to take a closer look at rules that govern public rights-of-way and how they impact mobility options for people traveling throughout Denver. DPR is aware that e-vehicles are being used in parks and on trails and must evaluate how to best manage this activity.

Impacts of the directive will be evaluated in 2020.

Notice of Rules & Regulations Adoption

Proposed updates presented at the Department of Parks & Recreation’s May 14, 2015 Public Hearing have been duly adopted effective May 27, 2015, in accordance with the rule-making requirements of Section 39-2 of the Denver Revised Municipal Code and are in accordance with the authority of the Executive Director of the Denver Department of Parks & Recreation under Section 2.4.4 of the Denver City Charter.

View full rules and regulations (PDF)

View the rules and regulations summary (PDF)

This Policy is adopted by the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation (“DPR”) for the purpose of providing some clarity as to the designation status of and the protections afforded to Denver parks under the existing legal framework and to make clear the public process with respect to designation of Denver parks in accordance with the City Charter and City procedures.


In order to best serve Denver's residents and visitors, the Parks & Recreation Department may partner with third party organizations to deliver programs and services that it would not otherwise be able to provide.

Learn more about becoming a partner.

Developed in 2013, the RAP Plan identifies core services, points out duplication in services, recommends service provision strategies, and recommends resource allocation and pricing strategies. It enhances partnerships and helps meet the future needs of Denver residents, and those who work in and visit the community.

Full Report

Advisory Board

The Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board is a 19 member advisory board, with 13 members appointed by City Councilmembers, five by the Mayor, and one from Denver Public Schools.

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