Denver Zoo Expands at Parks Manager’s Discretion

In 1998, the City and County of Denver and the Denver Zoo negotiated an operating agreement ratified by the City Council.   Paragraph 3, on page 3 of the 1998  agreement, defines the Zoo’s Facilities (area) and specifies how they may be expanded.

The City’s interpretation of the 1998 agreement, according to current Parks and Recreation Manager Lauri Dannemiller, is that the Zoo and City Park are one entity, subject to her discretion as the Manager. When asked about a transfer of land from City Park to the Zoo following the completion of the Zoo’s recent construction, Manager Dannemiller made the following statement in an email on March 21, 2013:

‘No public hearing is required, per the agreement that the City has with the Zoo.  The language of the agreement states: “The Foundation may, from time to time, request additional space within the City Park as is necessary to convenient for the operation or expansion of the Foundations programs or operations.  Following review by the DPRAB or any other public process that the Manger may deem appropriate and subject to any terms and conditions imposed, the foundation may utilize additional space in City Park the Manger designates and sets asides, as determined in the Manager’s discretion, as being in the public interest for the betterment of the Denver Zoological Gardens.”

 Again, no “annexation” is happening as the zoo is within the Park boundaries.’

The documents are provided below.

1998 Agreement between Denver and Denver Zoo, 98-1018