Denver recreation centers struggling to reopen all locations

rec center limited staffing denver.jpg
Posted at 8:49 PM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 22:49:21-04

DENVER — As Colorado's momentum continues to move forward as businesses across the state continue to rebound from the pandemic each day, Denver city and county recreation centers are still struggling to reopen all of their locations.

"We definitely know the impact from the reality we had just over 15 months ago," said Keith Bell, the Director of Recreation for the city and county of Denver.

While 10 recreation centers have recently been reopened, Bell underscores the challenge ahead, which is the exact opposite of what Denver saw when businesses were forced to furlough.

"Approximately 1,200 of our staff, as a result of the pandemic, are not returning," Bell said.

That's one big reason why 20 recreation centers can't open yet. All of them with the capacity to serve the community's summer needs, including as cooling centers during what has been a record-setting heat spell this week.

While six more rec centers are expected to reopen in July, Bell says facilities are taking a closer look at the hourly rate they are offering to potential employees in hopes of attracting more applicants.

"We're looking at working and making sure that wage is comparable to what is being offered across the state of Colorado so we can, again, be competitive," Bell said.

Whether it's a rec center or a restaurant, the old ways and old pay may not be enough in the new, post-pandemic Denver.