It’s summer! The sun is shining, the yogis are yoga-ing outdoors and many of them are in the park. The free public parks. Because they’re free and public and everything. Free to use by the public whether it be for yoga classes, jogging, lawn-tanning, weekend brunching, frolicking or whatever it is this guy likes to do on the grassy knolls.
But no, some party pooper officials in Denver want to break up all of our carefree merriment, by charging yogis and other fitness folks for using the public park for classes.
Since many of the instructors are paid (though not all, especially in NYC) for these outdoor classes, the city of Denver wants a chunk of that change. Officials say they are conducting businesses on public property, which, technically, is violating city ordinances. These yoga teachers and fitness instructors also happen to be technically paying taxes just like everyone else and have just as much right to use the park space as any other dude enjoying the sunshine while on a (work-related!) conference call or a bunch of urban hippies playing ultimate frisbee for 4 hours, right?
“A lot of these groups really are businesses that provide their goods and services in the park,” says Jeff Green from Denver Parks and Recreation, as quoted by CBS Denver. “If they don’t have a permit, they’re kind of breaking the law. We want people to enjoy our parks and this is kind of balancing the needs and wants of the commercial operators with the way that regular citizens and general park visitors use the park.”
Thanks, Jeff. We kind of think this is bullshit. OK, we get that there should be room for everyone at the park, but these classes last for, what, an hour and a half at the most, and isn’t it a good thing everyone’s exercising in the park? Sure, as long as all the commercial operators are happy, is that it?
“We want people to enjoy our parks and this is kind of balancing the needs and wants of the commercial operators with the way that regular citizens and general park visitors use the park,” Green said.
Something tells us all those other folks paying for permits are putting some major pressure on the old Parks and Rec Dept.
The Denver City Council is considering a permit and fee structure where a 90-minute class of 35 people or less would cost $4.50 to $32.50 depending on the park, season and time of day. So if you’re looking for a 5am class on a Tuesday in November, you’re going to get a bargain!
This is not an isolated thing, though. California’s Santa Monica has considered nabbing some extra cash from fitness classes in public parks, by charging a $100 annual fee and a whopping 15 percent of revenues from the outdoor classes, as well as banning certain parks.
It doesn’t go unnoticed that this is happening in two very outdoorsy and wellness-focused areas. You want to take away Denver and Santa Monica residents’ park privileges? Good luck. This wouldn’t fly in Boulder.
And if they ever tried to pull this crap in NYC, they might have a riot of yoga pants on their hands.
images via yogainyou.com; humansofnewyork.com
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