10/16/07

Restore the Playground at Perk Hill Coffee, Denver, CO

The following is a general purpose letter in support of Perk Hill coffee shop's playground, recently removed at the landlord's directive.

I am writing as a citizen of Denver and Park Hill to protest the forced removal of a public good: a children's playground.

At Perk Hill Coffee at 22nd and Kearney in Park Hill, Darren Spreeuw, owner had installed a small swing set and play ground that he had provided - at no cost to the city or to its users - on a public right of way owned by the city. Hundred of people use this every week. It is a site of community building, friendship, and healthy childhood development.

Darren had all the necessary permits and loads of private liability insurance, and had clearly marked it "At Your Own Risk." For some reason, the landlord, Eric Alstad, owner of The Thin Man and St. Mark's Coffee has forced him to take down this very popular playground.

As a citizen of Park Hill, I have been impressed by Perk Hill coffee as a business and member of the community. Darren Spreeuw has been extraordinarily entrepreneurial, and has been an anchor in the rejuvenation of this part of Park Hill.

As long term residents of Denver know, economic stability and social stability are mutual supports against leaner times. Let us be farsighted about the values that sustain our city and neighborhoods over time. The city should designate this small area and public good as a "pocket park" so it may be preserved and continue to serve our community.

To contact the city council person with jurisdiction over this area:

City Council - Marcia Johnson, Dist. 5
Marcia.Johnson@denvergov.org
303.355.4615
6740 E. Colfax Ave
Denver, CO 80220

To contact the landlord who forced the playground to come down, Mr. Alstad, here is some publically available information:

The Thin Man
2015 E 17th Ave
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 320-7814

St. Mark's Coffee House
2019 E 17th Ave
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 322-8384

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Eric Alstad's e-mail addresses are ericthinman@gmail.com and ealstad@aol.com

Tony said...

My family and I are 20 year residents of Park Hill and wholeheartedly agree that Darren Spreeuw of Perk Hill Coffee House is " . . . extraordinarily entrepreneurial, and has been an anchor in the rejuvenation of this part of Park Hill." I too am impressed with his show of community contribution. I, among others, have come to rally in support of returning this little playscape to the public right of way owned by the City of Denver by emailing our local City and media contacts to this effect in further trying to bring more awareness and show of community interest to this issue.

I am aware of most of the historical circumstances, opinions and concerns which have been brought to the table in regard to this issue. At this point I am interested in how we can encourage and influence our City government to come to our assistance in what appears to me to be the best form of resolution––that of designating this little area of land in question as a "pocket park," where I understand from Celeste Archer (who's been an advocate in this issue and whose contributions are greatly appreciated––thank you Celeste) that "Darren has agreed to re-donate the play equipment back to the city [and that he] and a 'co-op' of Park Hill Neighbors have agreed to maintain the new Public Park, so the Parks and Rec people do not face ongoing maintenance costs. and/or labor."

As Celeste went on to say in her email, "It's time for our city leaders to be just that and to rise to the occasion with a creative solution they talk so much about." Yes, there have been some bumps and bruises for all those who've been involved in this issue, and I wish to bring no more undue attention or stress to anyone involved. After getting past all of this history I'm still interested in how we can all achieve a win-win outcome about our little playground which has been both so used and appreciated, and now so sorely missed.

If you haven't already done so––and you feel so moved––I encourage you to show your support by signing the petition at Perk Hill Coffee, and as well, dropping a brief email to our councilwoman for District 5, Marcia Johnson, Marcia.Johnson@denvergov.org (phone: 303.355.4615) sharing your support for having the pocket park created. I believe the tentative plan in the works would be a creative and cooperative effort on the part of both our community and City government in finding a sustainable and agreeable resolution to our "Save the Playground!" campaign and returning the playscape back to its home.

Hopeful and respectfully,
Tony Beach

Tony said...

I just received a reply email from Park Hill's (District 5) councilwoman Marcia Johnson in response to my encouragement in obtaining the City's help saying,

"I'm working on it! So are others."

So I'm taking this as a good omen . . . .