DENVER, Colo. — Throughout the City of Denver’s parkways like the one on 6th Avenue, you’ll typically see people running or walking their dog.
“People use it on a regular basis. My kids run on it all the time. It’s enjoyed by everybody around here,” Nicholas Ghiselli, who lives in the area, said.
But now, Denver Parks and Recreation will be scaling back their maintenance on all parkways and they’ve already removed all the dog poop trash cans.
“Not shocking at all given what the economy is going through,” Eric Muller-Girard, who was riding his bike down 6th Avenue Parkway, said.
The department said one of the big reasons is staffing and cuts to the city’s budget.
“Traditionally, we hire between 180 and 200 seasonal on call workers. That means they come on about March and they work through October. This year we hired about 80, so about 45% of the workforce that we traditionally have was hired,” Deputy Director of Denver Parks and Recreation, Scott Gilmore said.
Gilmore said the number of people visiting parks this year has skyrocketed. So, they’re using the manpower they do have to focus on them instead of parkways.
“Obviously the less you leave behind the less that has to be maintained,” Muller-Girard said.
But others think people will just end up leaving trash along the parkway.
“I don’t even like to pick up dog poop, so I always get my kids to pick up the dog poop so, that’s one of the conditions of getting the dogs, but then what do you do with it, where do you carry it, where do you throw it?” Ghiselli said.
But Gilmore hopes people who live near these parkways and use them take care them and understand the tough economic situation the city is in.
“If people can travel to Rocky Mountain National Park and take their dog out there and pick up the poop there and pack it in and pack it out, they should be able to pack it in and pack it out in their neighborhood,” Gilmore said.
Other things, like mowing the grass on parkways, will still get done, just not as often. As the city moves into 2021, this is a small indication of needed changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.