Bond Measure May Result in Total Knock Out for Boxing Club at Sloan’s Lake Park

Quintana Boxing is hoping to convince the city to let them stay in the building they’ve been using for 33 years. Photo by David Sabados

Anthony Mondragon has wanted to be a part of Quintana Boxing since he was five.

“It’s been my son’s dream to go there because his dad went there,” Amanda Mondragon said of her now nine-year-old son.

He’s been boxing with the group for about eight months and is one of 32 kids who regularly heads to a gym located near the intersection of North Sheridan Boulevard and West 17th Avenue to work up a sweat. Quintana Boxing, formerly known as Sloan’s Lake Boxing Club, has introduced the community’s youth to the sport for 33 years.

That tradition, however, appears to be coming to an end.

Quintana Boxing’s lease with the City and County of Denver for the use of the Gun Club Building in Sloan’s Lake Park expires May 31 and will not be renewed, according to a letter the city sent Mike Quintana on Jan. 10.

“Our kids are going to be out on the streets. That’s just the bottom line,” said Quintana, owner of the nonprofit. 

Photo by David Sabados

Change is on Sloan’s Lake park’s picturesque horizon

Denver Parks and Recreation has other plans for the building, which has housed the boxing club since Federico Peña was mayor.

Last November, Denver voters approved bond measures to fund the Rebuilding for an Inclusive and Sustainable Economy, or RISE, plan. This allows the local government to borrow $450 million and spend it on 29 projects across the city.

Two projects in particular will impact Sloan’s Lake Park and, ultimately, Quintana Boxing, said Scott Gilmore, deputy executive director of Denver Parks and Recreation.

The Sloan’s Lake Boat House is slated for a $7 million renovation that will enable it to host community events and public programs, according to the bond project summary. Nearly $16 million more is set aside for two new maintenance facilities for Denver Parks and Recreation. One of those facilities is to be located in the northwest part of the city.

Right now, the department has a satellite maintenance office operating out of the Boat House, Gilmore told The Denver North Star. The office needs to vacate that building so the renovations, approved by Denver voters, can begin.

Gilmore called the Gun Club Building on the other side of the lake the most logical and fiscally-responsible place for the maintenance office.

I’m not going to spend millions of dollars to build a building for us to go into when we can occupy the building, the Gun Club Building, that Quintana’s in right now,” Gilmore said.

“I’m not going to spend millions of dollars to build a building for us to go into when we can occupy the building, the Gun Club Building, that Quintana’s in right now,” Gilmore said.

However, that building may not be quite big enough. Gilmore thinks it will need to be expanded, or perhaps a second building may need to be added to the site. In addition to the two larger regional maintenance facilities specified in the bond, some of the bond money will probably be used to create this new satellite office at Sloan’s Lake, Gilmore said.

The boxing club is not alone in its experience. Colorado Outward Bound’s agreement to use a building in northwest Denver’s Camp Rollendet expired last year. The educational organization has moved out, and the facility will be used as a small maintenance shop, Gilmore said.

“(Parks in northwest Denver) deserve the same thing other parks of the city have and that includes a maintenance facility that can handle taking care of, and making sure that, the parks are taken care of at a high level,” Gilmore said.

End of an Era?

Since receiving the letter, Quintana has met with Denver Parks and Recreation and Councilwoman Amanda P. Sandoval about the situation.  He’s talking with the Sloan’s Lake Citizens’ Group for support. He may stage a demonstration.

“It’s gonna break my heart when we have to leave, but I’m not leaving quietly,” Quintana said.

His niece, Rayna Quintana, started a petition on That’s not too surprising considering boxing is a family affair for the Quintanas.

Mike Quintana is the third generation of his family to lead the club.

“We’re like a landmark, you know,” Quintana said. “You don’t mess—to my understanding—you don’t mess with landmarks. You don’t mess with history.”

Few options

Born and raised in Denver, Sandoval knows of the Quintanas’ work with youth and with people that need second chances. They’ve changed lives, she said.

Sandoval had hoped Denver Parks and Recreation could find another facility for the club to move into. But most city facilities in northwest Denver are occupied. In fact, she said the city is leasing space in the Denver Post building because the city lacks places for its own employees.

“It’s disappointing anytime that we can’t find a win-win situation,” she said.

Although City Council votes to approve or deny leases and lease extensions, she said council cannot initiate an extension. In Quintana’s case, that would have to be done by Denver Parks and Recreation, according to the councilwoman.

His department is trying to be as supportive as possible, Gilmore said, but in the end, it’s not their responsibility to make sure all nonprofits have a home.

Even though it would be a hassle, Amanda Mondragon said they’d follow Quintana Boxing to a new location. So would Renee Rivera, whose 14-year-old grandson Adrian Lopez has been boxing at the gym since he was eight.

But Quintana’s not confident he’ll be able to find a place the club can afford, considering that the boxing club was not paying any rent to use the Sloan’s Lake space. One spot he looked into wanted $6,000 a month, another wanted $8,000. Neither were in Denver.

Quintana said that anyone wanting to donate money to help the team out could contact him via email at

“It’s just sad and unfortunate,” Rivera said. “We’ll see what happens.”


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