Park shelter reservations hotter than burgers

PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON—Ted Weber of Grand Junction grills hamburgers Sunday at a shelter at Canyon View Park. Reservations at parks with shelters and restrooms are becoming scarce, a city Parks and Recreation Department representative says, particularly as the graduation season approaches.

The popularity of Grand Junction parks soars in spring and summer, prompting one city official to encourage anyone interested in reserving a shelter in the weeks and months ahead to do it now.

In fact, with graduation season looming — the Mesa State College commencement Sunday will begin the graduation season —  park shelters,  with their minimal reservation fees and outdoor appeal, are already a hot commodity, said Darcy Austin-Settles, leisure services representative for the city of Grand Junction Parks and Recreation Department.

Minimal to no space is available for either Saturday or Sunday at any city park with shelters and restrooms, she added.

“Some people booked last year for the May 14-15 weekend,” Austin-Settles said.

Her computer’s reservation calendar proved at least one person called in September 2010 to reserve the Grand Shelter at Canyon View Park for a graduation party Sunday. It is not uncommon for people to book shelter space one year in advance she said.

Reservations have priority over other public use, Austin-Settles said.

Austin-Settles has some guesses about why park shelters are so popular. First, they typically cost $45 for a four-hour block, and most have tables and benches already set up. (The Grand Shelter at Canyon View Park is $65 for four hours.) Restrooms are usually near those shelters, and parks offer outdoor activities for people of all ages, including children.

“You definitely want to book in advance if you know when or where (you want to be),” Austin-Settles said. “If everything’s full, bring your own tent, tables, chairs and find an open grass area.”

The only stipulations on using free grassy areas for parties are: use sandbags to secure tent poles and avoid sports fields.

Call 254-3866 to make shelter reservations. The city Parks and Recreation Department oversees all shelter house reservations plus Long Family Memorial Park by Central High School, which is in Mesa County.

A guide explaining the amenities of each park and reservation regulations is available at the parks and recreation offices, 1340 Gunnison Ave.


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