Newsletter 11


Happy Holidays!

I do love the holidays in Durango. The holiday lights and general good cheer remind me why I love this community as much as I do.

Before we fill up on festivities and family, I’d like to share the last two posts in the series on organic parks. After a three-year trial run, the Organically Managed Lands Program in Durango is once again front and center in our community. At issue is whether the program should be continued at its current level, expanded or minimized. The success of the program itself is in question. As with so many issues that affect our community, the definition of success is nuanced and more complex than it would seem.

The first post, originally shared last week, was a guest opinion piece by Cody Reinheimer, “Parks are for People and Pets, Not Poison.” Cody is an active citizen participant in the organic parks movement and a proponent for expanding the program.

Live today, the second guest opinion in the series is an interview with Cathy Metz, “Durango’s Organically Managed Land Program.”

Cathy has served for 20 years as director of the Parks and Recreation Department for the City of Durango. She’s been a passionate leader during her tenure, overseeing significant growth in the award-winning department. She is a resolute voice for the value of open space and an active community. As the trial run of the Organically Managed Lands Program comes to a close, Cathy outlines the reasons behind City staff’s recommendation that the program be downsized.

If you’re interested in a background summary of the history and status of organic park management in Durango, I’ve added a primer, “Organic Park Management History Durango,” to accompany both Cody’s and Cathy’s guest opinions.

There continues to be debate over the success of this program and how to best proceed. I’m grateful to both Cody and Cathy for taking the time to articulate both sides of the question. I would also love to hear from you and spark a strong dialogue on this important topic within this community. Feel free to add your comments directly underneath Cody’s and Cathy’s posts on my blog, “Your Front Row Seat.”

It’s not too late to have your voice heard directly by our elected officials and members of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. There will be a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting on January 11, 2017. Public comments are welcome as a point of agenda at the beginning of each meeting, as with all City Council officially posted meetings. On January 24, 2017, the City Council will meet for a Study Session and consult with City staff and members of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. Members of the public are welcome, though Study Sessions do not typically include opportunities for public comment. [Full disclosure: My term on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will expire on Jan. 31, 2017.] For more detailed information, check out the “Meetings” tab on the City of Durango website.

Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful, safe and joyous holiday season!

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 27, 2016