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Backlash from residents near Boulder Reservoir prompts cancellation of multiple events

driftwind boulder reservoir restaurant.jpg
Posted at 8:45 PM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 10:49:34-04

BOULDER, Colo. — The anticipated series of dinners at Boulder Reservoir's new restaurant have been canceled amid alleged threats by some residents who live nearby.

"Regardless of our best efforts, the safety of our guests was out of our control," said Tatianna Hernandez, the CEO of Community Foundation Boulder County.

Hernandez agreed with five other local leaders and the Driftwind restaurant to cancel the first set of dinners planned for Friday. A portion of the proceeds were supposed to be distributed to the organizations.

"The nonprofits received an email from one of the neighbors threatening to both attend and harass guests as well as protest the events themselves," Hernandez said.

According to Boulder Parks and Recreation Director Ali Rhodes, that was one of many threats received by either the reservoir or the nonprofits.

"Unfortunately, the nonprofit applicants have shared very negative communications sent by neighbors, notes personally disparaging not only some nonprofit employees but threatening to disrupt the event and impact their fundraising," Rhodes said in a press release Wednesday.

Community resistance isn't a surprise. Nearby residents, like Austen Forest, have shown up at city council meetings to express their frustrations over lakeside events in recent months, especially those that include special event liquor licenses.

While Forest doesn't condone the recent threats, he hopes Driftwind's owner, Josh Dinar, knows that the community doesn't support serving alcohol at the reservoir.

"We don't have an issue with him holding events, it's a great place to hold events," Forest said. "Our specific issue is with him serving alcohol at the events because that is a single lane road and we've had people die on that road before, and if you're coming in and it's night and you had a couple drinks, that's a dangerous road."

Forest wants the community to have a better relationship with the reservoir, but feels like residents weren't taken into consideration by city council or the reservoir.

"They did not listen to the public commentary, overwhelming public commentary saying no, and they let these events happen anyways," Forest said.

But the lack of consideration Forest is describing goes both ways, according to Hernandez.

"This wasn't an open bar situation, it wasn't a party situation. It really was responsible, safe dinner, drink pairings," she said.

Hernandez said despite the pushback, she is not deterred from planning future events at Boulder Reservoir.