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Mommy fitness groups to pay for Denver Parks permits even if they're only using trails?

Some local moms -- and other fitness enthusiasts, too -- have been sweating potential changes to Denver Parks and Recreation's permit-fee structure for almost a year, ever since DPR announced that all groups hosting exercise classes on the city's turf would have to pay for a permit, regardless of whether they're only using the trails. After a three-month hiatus, the new rates, accessible on the DPR website, have been approved by the Parks and Rec advisory board -- and earlier today, a Denver City Council committee approved them, too.

As now proposed, permit fees would depend on several factors, including the location of the park, the number of participants and whether the activity is "turf or trail." Groups that want to exercise at a Tier 1 park -- Sloan's Lake, City Park or Washington Park -- will pay either $50 to $100, depending on the number of participants. Those holding classes with six to 25 participants will pay twice as much for turf (a single location) as trail. The highest fee would be $300 for a class of six to 25 participants on Tier 1 turf.

Permits will be issued by season, with fees paid once every six months.

Anyone holding class with more than 25 participants would be in violation of the policy."There would be a warning initially by park ranger," says Parks and Rec spokeswoman Angela Casias says. "And a citation if it happened again."

Now that the committee has approved the policy, the issue will move on to a mayor/council meeting, Casias notes, and then the full Denver City Council, where it could have a first reading as early as Monday, November 4. If approved, the new permitting fees would take effect in January.

"At this point, I know there are definitely people with strong viewpoints on either side," Casias says. "But for the most part, we feel like we have a policy and fee structure the majority of people will be happy with."

The proposed fees have been vetted several times through a stakeholder's group and the advisory board, she points out: "We feel confident in the final product."

More from The Latest Word archive circa July: "Denver Parks permit policy headed for vote: Will mommies need to pay to push strollers?"


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