City governments often struggle to keep public parks void of vandals and vagrants. In Denver, one of its public enemies is cloaked in Lycra and running shoes.
The city--its identity largely tied to health, fitness and outdoor adventure--has been waging a battle against group exercise classes held in public parks since last year, reported the New York Times.
The city of Denver doesn't allow commercial activity without a permit. In the past, the rule applied to festivals, races and food vendors; not to yoga classes. That has since changed, largely due to the growing prevalence of outdoor group fitness classes.
The upshot? Folks who want to charge a fee for a boot camp at Civic Center Park--the same public park where tens of thousands of people attended the annual 420 marijuana smoke out celebration in April--will need a permit.
Popular neighborhood parks like "Wash" Park or Central Park have become hotbeds of fitness activity, particularly in the warmer months. CrossFit, boot camps and other organized group classes--held by personal trainers and instructors who are either self-employed or connected to a local gym or business--are a common sight at public parks and neighborhood open spaces.
The throngs of sweaty people participating in running and jumping drills, sit-up and push-ups is apparently so offensive that city government took action. City and private officials say the groups can be a nuisance and monopolize the public facilities. They also argue that personal trainers and fitness centers are taking advantage of taxpayer-funded public spaces.
The Denver Parks & Recreation advisory board adopted the permit policy in May. The fee structure was tabled to allow for more discussion. Last month, the board voted to send its fee recommendation to a city council committee for approval.
Under the recommendation, a summer season permit for 90 minutes in an exclusive-use zone in a tier one park will be $24.50 to $32.50, depending on time of day. For instructors and businesses who hold outdoor exercise classes every day, sometimes several times a day, these permit fees would take a significant bite out of their profits. Lower fees have been recommended for summer permits for tier two, or lesser-used parks as well as winter season permits.
The recommendation will go to the Denver City Council Land Use Transportation and Infrastructure committee July 16 for approval.
Photo: Port of San Diego
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com