Newsletter 10

Hello Durango Community,

I hope all of you are having a wonderful start to the holiday season! Our community is so active and vibrant during this time of year. I love the Christmas lights on the trees decorating Main Avenue, the windows of our stores adorned in holiday décor, and the festive spirit and holiday cheer that abounds the streets.

Today, I’m offering you the first of a two-part blog post series on Durango’s Organic Parks. It’s an issue of relevance in our community and is currently under discussion at the City Council level as the three-year trial period for organic park maintenance of selected parks in Durango nears its end.

The Organically Managed Lands Program for the City of Durango was adopted by a City Council resolution in September of 2012. The program initially included eight parks, with the goal of slowly extending the organic management practices to all City parks to minimize the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Organic park management involves using organic fertilizer and liquid compost, as well as aeration, watering, mowing, and over-seeding.

There is debate over the success of this program and how to best proceed based on the outcomes, aesthetics, and current condition of the parks, taking into account usage, such as high intensity athletic activities.

First up is a Guest Opinion Piece by Cody Reinheimer (Parks are for People and Pets – Not Poison). Cody has been an active citizen participant in the organic parks movement and has attended the City Council meetings on the topic. Cody, as one of Durango’s passionate organic park advocates, contends that the program has been successful because the parks in the program are chemical and pesticide free. He suggests that we will see more benefits as time goes on and the organic park treatment process is fully implemented; meanwhile we should continue to expand the program to include more parks as originally agreed.

This is in contrast to the report from city staff suggesting that the program is not working in several cases. City staff proposes removing several parks from the program, returning to conventional treatment methods in those parks (or a blended/hybrid approach of both organic and conventional treatment methods), and curtailing the expansion of the program to include other parks at this time.

Cody’s article includes a history of Durango’s Organically Managed Lands Program, background on how we got to where we are today, and provides reasoning behind his passionate plea, as well as the plea of the organic park advocates, for continuation and expansion of the program.

I start with this piece from Cody and will follow this up with an interview with Cathy Metz, Parks and Recreation Director, in which Cathy will discuss her opinion of the program’s successes, failures, feedback she has received from community members, along with her recommendations for reducing the number of the parks in the program.

In this point-counterpoint format, my goal is to provide you with both viewpoints so you can be informed and be a part of the discussion.

City Council will address this issue in January, 2017, giving the Parks and Recreation Advisory board time to weigh in the matter.

In the interim, please feel free to add your comments directly underneath Cory’s blog post, right on the ‘Your Front Row Seat’ blog. I love to hear from you!

Thank you for reading. Have a great early season holiday weekend! I hope each of you will be able to enjoy time with family, friends and colleagues, avoid the cold and flu going around (that I caught!) and enjoy the season.

Happy shopping!

Melissa Youssef
Blogger, ‘Your Front Row Seat’

Focusing on Issues and Initiatives Significant to All who Call Durango Home

P.S. Please DO remember that you’re invited to add your comments beneath any of my blog posts. You can also hit reply to this e-mail or contact me directly at Please don’t hesitate to let me know what you’d like to see more of and thank you so much for being an important part of my community here on “Your Front Row Seat.”

Published: December 12, 2016