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Denver auditor says city not doing enough to keep parks safe

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Posted at 10:09 PM, Dec 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-07 00:25:44-05

DENVER— Denver's parks are a source of solitude for so many, but the Denver auditor says the parks and recreation department can do better in making improvements.

In a 2021 audit, recommendations were made to improve the parks, trails and open spaces for visitors. But in a recent follow-up report, Denver Auditor Timothy O'Brien says out of nine recommendations, only three were completed.

“They had to do with things like needs assessment," O'Brien said. "You're going to have more parks in the system. You're going to have more work to do. You're going to need more workers."

Denver auditor says city not doing enough to keep parks safe

O'Brien said another recommendation that wasn't fully implemented was a new communications policy.

“We think they should be communicating to the public how their tax dollars are being spent by some kind of signage that says this project was funded by the parks legacy fund,” O’Brien said.

While the auditor said the parks and rec department refused to provide evidence it took steps to address staffing concerns, Denver Parks and Rec officials told Denver7 that's not true.

They shared this statement:

"Denver Parks and Recreation did not refuse to provide evidence it took steps to address staffing concerns for park maintenance. In August, the Auditor’s Office requested the department’s 2023 budget expansion request containing the department’s explanation/analysis to support the budget expansion. We informed the Auditor’s Office to request the information from the Budget Management Office."

Ten of Denver's parks were listed in the audit, including City Park.

While several parks are on the list for focused improvements, those at City Park tell me they are still able to enjoy the outdoors.

“I would say yeah, they're pretty well maintained. There's no chaos here. It's pretty clean, comfortable,” park visitor Ellis Reppo said. “I would say the smaller parks need improvements.”

“I think there's always things, trees need to be trimmed,” park visitor Mary Burman said. “You have lovely paths. Lovely day and parks are always good.”

Denver7 asked Denver's auditor what happens next since some of the recommendations for the parks and rec department weren't implemented. The auditor said he may conduct another audit in the future.