Group exercise fees coming to Denver parks

City Council taking up issue next week

DENVER - In a city known as one of the healthiest in the country, fitness instructor, Chris Lindley thought Denver Parks and Recreation would be the last obstacle in his boot camp.

"I'm all for permits, I'm all for helping Parks and Rec raise more money and protecting these parks and keeping it vibrant, I just don't like how it set's up today," Lindley said.

Outdoor group exercise classes, like Lindley's, may soon need a permit to use Denver City Parks.  Denver Parks and Recreation is finalizing a new permit policy that would require commercial fitness classes to pay a fee for a permit.

Jeff Green, of Denver Parks and Rec said the change stems from people complaining about noise and space as well as the toll they take on grass and trails.

"I would say [we've] gotten a handful [of complaints] every year for the past couple of years," Green said.

The fees depend on which park you use and during what time of day.  Under the proposal, a permit for Sloans Lake Park, City Park and Washington Park would cost $32.50 for 90 minutes during peak hours.  Off peak hours for the same parks would cost $24.50 for 90 minutes.

7NEWS asked Green if it really came down to complaints or rather to the fact fitness instructors are making money and Parks and Rec wants a chunk of that money.

"Well it's a little bit of both," Green responded.

Lindley said he doesn't have a problem paying for a permit but he's worried about smaller groups.

"If we're going to make a group of moms pushing their strollers, going around the park doing stroller striders or anything else pull a permit, I think we're taking it a little too far," Lindley said.

The City Council must approve the fees and will take up the issue next week.