The city's rec center conundrum

City councilwoman Judy Montero worked up quite a sweat a couple weeks back over the planned privatization of the La Alma Recreation Center, comparing neighborhood reaction to the "Milagro Beanfield War."

And she got her way: The city will continue to fund the rec center for a year while it solicits feedback from local residents.

But three other rec centers -- College View, Globeville and Johnson -- won't get the touchy-feely treatment. The city is taking proposals now from nonprofits that want to run them and will make decisions next month, says Denver parks and rec spokeswoman Jill McGranahan.

"The discussion hadn't been flushed out in La Alma as well as it had been in the other communities, especially Globeville and Johnson," she adds.

Which leaves a few angry residents in southwest Denver, who feel like they'll lose an important asset at College View.

"I grew up at that rec center and now my own fourteen-year-old boy is there every day," says one woman who is concerned about what kids will do after school now if a nonprofit changes College View's focus. "For parents who work, it's important" -- especially in an area with gang violence.

Even more ironic: The city plans to add two more rec centers in the next few years, one in Stapleton and one in central Denver despite the fact that it can't afford to run the 29 centers it already has.

But that money came from bonds the city sold and can only be used for the rec centers -- and McGranahan believes the new ones could be run by nonprofits to start with.

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