The city says that they’re reconfiguring summer activities, but it’s unclear what shape the new activities will take.
Denver’s working parents have a tough time figuring out what to do with their kids in the summer. And many families are worried this year could be extra rough.
Last week, Denver Parks and Recreation announced it has canceled its summer camp, Summer in the Parks, leaving working parents scrambling.
On Friday, Mayor Mike Johnston announced cuts to both the Department of Motor Vehicles and Parks and Recreation to make up for a budget shortfall and to help fund city support for new immigrants, many of whom are facing homelessness and are not allowed to work.
But the new immigrant response is not why Summer in the Parks has been axed, according to the city
“The shift in summer program offerings would have happened regardless of today’s budget announcement,” explained Yolanda Quesada, a spokesperson for Parks and Recreation, on Friday.
Here’s how Parks and Recreation explained the decision to parents:
“The Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) program Summer in the Parks will not be offered this summer,” said Quesada. “We are restructuring summer offerings and will supplement programs at various recreation centers throughout the summer to allow us to reach more youth.”
Some parents who were planning on sending their kids to Summer in the Parks and who missed the deadline for other camps are feeling uncertain about what to do next or how they will afford it.
“Denver has a huge problem with summer camps,” said Denver parent Katie Harper
Spots in the more affordable programs, like those at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts or Denver Museum of Nature and Science, are highly coveted. Parents get in line the morning camps open up, and often get stuck on waiting lists with as many as 1,000 kids.
Private camps can cost upwards of $600. Parents with multiple children can spend thousands keeping their kids occupied over the summer.
But Summer in the Park has been a welcome deviation from high prices and competitive spots.
“It is the most affordable local camp in all of the Denver area,” said Harper. “It’s close to where I live. It’s also a great camp.”
Harper is planning to send her kids to the slightly pricier YMCA Metro Denver summer camps.
“We are a dual-income working family and need care for our kids and even we struggle to afford [what] can be upwards of $4,000 per month,” she said.
So what is Parks and Recreation’s big plan for the summer?
“Summer activities are being reconfigured to have a greater reach and increase services for youth who visit our centers across the system,” Quesada said.
What that looks like is uncertain.
“Summer activities are not yet determined,” Quesada continued. “Recreation staff is currently working to develop plans for summer activities.”
A few things are known.
“Daytime center hours during the summer are being prioritized to ensure that there are options for youth and families systemwide,” she wrote. “Recreation centers and MY Denver programs are free for all youth who have a MY Denver Card.”
Work to repair and replace items from Denver’s Martin Luther King Jr. monument to begin right away
Work will start right away to repair and replace the.
is looking at the extensive damage to pieces ripped away from it by thieves and planning repairs.
Police say the thieves hit the MLK Monument as well as the Thatcher Fountain nearby on Feb. 21.
“We have to replicate that all the way down,” said Dwight about welding and duplicating the damaged areas of a large panel that was cut into four pieces. “And then we’ll work on the next one and the next one and the next one.”
Denver Police Department’s Bias-motivated Crime Unit has been involved in the case but indicated that there is no indication it was a bias-motivated crime.
“Certainly I think it’s a reasonable suspicion that there was some racial motivation to that. It does appear it was not the motivation. But we can’t be sure of that just yet,” explained Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas, saying they will need to question the suspects in the case.
“There is a lot of historical and cultural significance to that particular monument. And really shame on them for not understanding that recognizing that and deciding to steal a piece of it,” said Thomas.
There are two still on the loose. 67-year-old Herman Duran and a yet-to-be-identified man police say is pictured in images from a security camera.
“All of these trends should stop. And we who care about America and about American heroes and about progress of our city and our state and our nation should not have these kinds of acts going on now,” said former Denver First Lady and State Rep. Wilma Webb.
It was during her husband’s administration that Wilma Webb was the driving force behind the creation of the monument, which was commissioned to Ed Dwight, a renowned sculptor of African American history whose past includes years in NASA’s astronaut training program in the 1960s.
Dwight believed it was stolen for the value of its bronze early on in the investigation.
On Wednesday he said what is currently most important is not motive, but getting it put back together which could take two months or more.
“The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t make any difference. Whether it was racially motivated or for the value. Whatever is done is done… if we can prove that it was done for racial reasons, then we can raise hell and raise more consciousness,” said Dwight.
For the time being he is focusing on how to accomplish repairs. The largest plate, showing early representations of African American history, including slavery and service in America’s conflicts, has to be secured better when it is replaced he says. It will take careful welding and planning to get the job done.
There is an online fundraising campaign to raise money to help in the work and to add security around the monument.
About $10,000 has been raised so far, but former mayor Wellington Webb pointed out that adding cameras is likely to cost more.
Game Thread: Denver Nuggets vs Sacramento Kings. February 28th, 2024. – Denver Stiffs
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Shutdowns coming as RTD launches major reconstruction of rail routes in central Denver
Regional Transportation District officials are launching a major reconstruction of light rail track in central Denver, starting in May with a $152 million first phase that will rework five segments downtown and lead to a shutdown.
Closures are planned starting May 26, when all D and H line trains will be rerouted to Denver’s Union Station. L Line trains connecting the 30th Avenue/Downing Station to the Downtown Loop will be suspended.
There will be no light rail service operating in the RTD’s central corridor through September 2024, RTD officials announced on Wednesday morning.
The project is unprecedented since the RTD began light rail service in October 1994. While RTD officials between 2012 and 2023 directed 17 projects in the central corridor to replace sections of curved rail, switches, crossings, signals and other rail infrastructure, a project on this scale has not happened before.
After the first phase of reconstruction is completed in September, officials said, work crews will pause until 2025 and light rail services will resume during the pause.
“Maintaining RTD’s assets and infrastructure is essential to preserving the region’s previous investments in its mass transportation system,” RTD general manager Debra Johnson said in a press release.
“Managing and maintaining assets in a state of good repair ensures the long-term integrity of the rail network for all individuals who entrust RTD to deliver them to their destinations.”
Several segments of track along the central 5.3-mile corridor between the Interstate 25/Broadway and 30th Avenue/Downing stations require a full reconstruction, which entails removing all current rail infrastructure, concrete, ties, and ballasts, officials said. Work crews also are planning to address drainage systems beneath tracks before rebuilding each segment.
Rail and street intersections to be reconstructed during the first phase are at 15th and Stout Street, 17th and Stout Street, 15th and California Street, 17th and California Street, and Broadway and Welton Street.
Denver and RTD officials have been discussing street closures and traffic detour plans. Vehicle drivers downtown can expect rerouting to merge traffic into single lanes or around intersections.
RTD’s bus routes that operate along 15th and 17th streets may also be affected temporarily during the reconstruction work, agency officials said. As light rail trains are rerouted to Denver Union Station, RTD officials are planning to temporarily reintroduce a free MetroRide service along 18th and 19th streets with multiple stops.
Starting in 2025, later phases of the reconstruction will begin. These include a second reconstruction in RTD’s Downtown Loop and work along Colfax Avenue. A fourth phase will consist of work along Welton Street.
“The agency is ensuring that its 30-year-old system continues to provide reliable service for at least 30 more years and beyond,” Johnson said.
Before the reconstruction begins, transit riders are encouraged to sign up for agency service alerts and can find project information at rtd-denver.com/railproject.
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