Denver Direct: Your opinion on allowing parks to be closed for profit-making commercial events

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Your opinion on allowing parks to be closed for profit-making commercial events

by Dave Felice

District 8 City Councilwoman Carla Madison has a brief survey on her web site, seeking opinions on commercial outdoor movies at Civic Center and/or City Park.

The survey is designed to register what respondents think about the acceptability of the movies at one site or the other, and a possible reason for opposition.

The survey does not focus on the primary issue of keeping parks free and open to the public and not allowing parks to be closed for profit-making commercial events. The survey also does not present the argument that the city’s legal contract with OpenAir Cinema is a fundamental violation of City Charter.

City Council approved the contract, 8-to-4, after hearing persuasive arguments from Mayor John Hickenlooper’s administrative staffs in the offices of the city attorney and parks.

Carla Madison’s husband, Paul Weiss, operates the web site. Responses can be edited if they appear to be multiple. There is no claim of statistical or technical validity in the brief on-line survey. There is also no geographic restriction; responses can come from anywhere in the world.

Madison presents her views of the OpenAir Cinema proposal as a preface to the survey. She mentions neighborhood disruption, parking issues, and the size of the facilities. She does not comment at this time on
plans by OpenAir Cinema to apply for a legally questionable license to sell and serve alcoholic beverages.

Early responses showed a mixed opinion on accepting the movies at Civic Center. There was a strong opinion opposing movies at City Park. The primary reason for opposition appeared to be the admission
charge for the activity.

OpenAir Cinema (OAC) is the Massachusetts subsidiary of a company based in Switzerland. The firm’s contract to close parkland and set up its large-scale infrastructure originally called for movies in Civic Center in 2010 and in City Park in 2011 and 2012. Plans for 2010 were cancelled when the firm could not find sponsorship.

Julie Frahm is the Managing Director of OpenAir Cinema. Her direct e-mail address is jfrahm