Denver Parks and Recreation hopes to turn the Globeville Recreation Center over to a new non-profit partner or partners chosen with the help of the community and bring back full-time programming there.
Globeville was one of three recreation centers whose operations were handed off to private contractors during the Great Recession, when the city was low on money and cutting services.
“We had to make some very tough decisions to either close facilities or find other partners,” said John Martinez, deputy executive director of Parks and Recreation. “We did not want to leave those communities with out services.”
Street Kidz took over operations of the Globeville Recreation Center, while Denver Inner City Parish took over the College View Recreation Center in southwest Denver and Colorado Miners took over the Johnson Recreation Center in Elyria-Swansea. Those latter two relationships continue to this day, Martinez said, but in 2014, Street Kidz decided it couldn’t keep up with operations at Globeville and turned it back to the city.
Since then, Birdseed Collective has been running arts programming at Globeville, and some MY Denver Card staff have been assigned to the center to offer free programs for kids and teenagers. Martinez said the city wants to increase the offerings at the rec center, and it plans to solicit proposals from possible partners this fall.
As Westword reported earlier this year, Birdseed Collective is interested in becoming the main partner and continuing its work there.
At a community visioning meeting earlier this year, neighborhood residents said they were looking for everything from standard recreation programs to urban gardens. A meeting is scheduled for Wednesday evening for Parks and Recreation officials to go over the feedback they got from the community and make sure the request for proposals is an accurate reflection of those desires.
The meeting runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Globeville Recreation Center, 4496 Grant St. Spanish language interpretation and snacks will be provided.
Martinez said that no matter who the provider is, neighborhood youth will continue to have free access to programming through the MY Denver Card.
There are no plans to expand the use of private contractors to other Denver rec centers, Martinez said, but Parks and Rec believes the change has been beneficial where it’s been implemented.
“As our city grows, we need to be creative about meeting those needs,” he said.