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Who has rights to public space in downtown Denver?

Posted: 5:12 PM, Sep 18, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-18 19:42:42-04

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DENVER — Potentially one of the most complicated questions in downtown Denver is how to balance business with the homeless population that resides in public spaces.

Homeless advocates gathered in Skyline Park in Denver to fight for rights in public spaces on Tuesday. This comes after a report was released from the University of California Berkeley claiming business improvement districts or "BIDs" privatize downtown areas and push out the homeless population.

“We want a city for everyone, not a place where you are privatizing public spaces through fences, laws and through policing,” said Terese Howard, Organizer of Denver Homeless Out Loud.

Some Denver residents, like Deby Schwartz, welcome more security in the park in order to feel safer.

“It is intimidating because I come out here late at night when I walk or before I go to bed and there are a lot of homeless people sleeping out here or partying out here,” said Schwartz.

Schwartz does agree that the public park should be a place for everyone as long as they treat it correctly.

“They are allowed to hang here like anyone else, but it’s not a campground,” said Schwartz.

The Downtown Denver Partnership said BIDs are strictly funded by private commercial property owners. The project spans 120-blocks with the goal to provide a clean, safe and vibrant downtown environment for workers, residents and visitors.

Denver resident Steve Smith believes the fences set up in sections of Skyline Park are serving a different purpose.

“They say it’s for regeneration, but they have had it up for like a year plus so I think it’s to keep the homeless out quite honestly,” said Smith.