Conservation Easement Analysis

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The Conservation Easement Granted July 11, 2019 by the George W. Clayton Trust to the City of Denver

I. What Is the Language of the Conservation Easement Covering the Park Hill Golf Course Land?

a. The “Conservation Easement” granted July 11, 2019 by the George W. Clayton Trust to the City of Denver and recorded at Reception No. 2019090259 (“the 2019 Conservation Easement”) is clearly labeled “Conservation Easement” in the heading. The 2019 Conservation Easement preserves the entire 155 acres of the Park Hill Golf Course land (“PHGC Land”) as open space.

b. The fourth Whereas Clause of the 2019 Conservation Easement states that that Denver “desires to acquire a conservation easement” and that the conservation easement is granted “pursuant to Title 38, Article 30.5 of the Colorado Revised Statutes”, commonly referred to as the Colorado Conservation Easement Statute (the “Act”). The Act provides the statutory rules governing all Colorado “conservation easements in gross.” See C.R.S § 38-30.5-101.

c. Paragraph 2 (Grant of Easement) of the 2019 Conservation Easement grants to the City “a perpetual, non-exclusive conservation easement in gross.”

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Stop With The Spin

Greater Park Hill News, July 2020

Former Mayor Wellington E Webb

wellington-webb

I was elected to three terms by Denver voters as Denver’s first African American mayor because they trusted me to represent all residents.

That’s why it infuriates me that some people are trying to spin an open space issue into a racial divide. They are attempting to pit neighbor against neighbor and create a narrative that nobody outside of the Park Hill neighborhood cares that Denver’s last large tract of open space could turn into another concrete jungle.

Let me set the record straight.

It is false that the 155 acres of open space at the Park Hill Golf Course is just a neighborhood issue. This is a Denver issue. This tract of land – the last large tract in Denver not gobbled up by developers – is just as important as our mountain parks and other land our forefathers had the wisdom to purchase and set aside for generations. What if their attitudes had been similar to some of our council representatives today? Red Rocks likely would be a subdivision.

Most importantly, I take very seriously a promise I made to voters citywide in 1998 who agreed to pay $2 million to protect that golf course land from development.

I’m urging the Denver City Council to place this issue on the November ballot because all voters should have a say.

Last month, some city council members made misleading statements. One council member mentioned that that Park Hill Golf Course used to be less inviting to Black golfers, which was true more than 50 years ago during the time that African Americans could not buy homes east of York Street.

But in the last 30 years, the course was very popular with Black golfers, including the late Councilman Bill Roberts, former District Attorney Norm Early, Denver School Board member Ed Garner and many Black residents golfers. It is misleading and unfortunate that anyone would create a narrative that this is a racial issue.

Bringing race into this issue is just an attempt to muddy the waters. People of all races enjoy and value open space. And Park Hill residents know when a developer is trying to use them to line his pockets.

As mayor I made a promise and let me make it very clear I will not stand by quietly while people – some of whom worked side by side with me for decades – now are getting paid by the developer to undo that promise. Voters in this city deserve to have their voices heard.

Let the people decide. Why be afraid of your electorate? Let the people decide.

Wellington Webb, Whittier

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Stop With The Spin

 

Letters To The Editor

Greater Park Hill Community Newsletter June 1 2020

From the Greater Park Hill Community Newsletter

Two Critical Words

As a lifelong Park Hill resident, a Greater Park Hill Community board member and an active member of Save Open Space Denver, I’m writing in response to Kenneth Ho’s guest opinion piece in the May edition regarding land speculator and real estate developer Westside Investment Partners’ development plans for the Park Hill Golf Course land. Mr. Ho is one of Westside’s owners and Westside’s point person trying to convince our community that Westside should be able to build a mini-city on the invaluable 155-acre open space.

Glaringly, Mr. Ho failed to use the two critical words – “conservation easement” – anywhere in his opinion piece. Mr. Ho, Westside, and the Hancock administration want to pretend that there are no legal impediments to their development plans.

Here are the undisputable facts: In 1997, Denver taxpayers paid $2 million for the perpetual open space conservation easement that forever protects the Park Hill Golf Course land from being developed. The “conservation purposes” of the conservation easement are to conserve the land “as open space” and “to maintain [the land’s] scenic and open condition and to preserve [the land] for recreational use.”

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Give Denver voters a say on prized parcel’s fate

Mayor Wellington Webb

By Wellington Webb  Colorado Politics June 1 2020

A well-organized campaign by the developer that wants to plow under 155 acres of open space at the Park Hill Golf Course has several misleading narratives.

First, that this is a racial issue that aims to pit neighbor against neighbor.

Second, that no one outside of the Park Hill neighborhood cares about the last large tract of open space, despite the fact that voters citywide paid $2 million in 1998 to protect it from development forever. When voters vote and approve a bond contract, that is a contract between the city and the voters.

Last month, some Denver City Council members made misleading statements. One council member mentioned that that Park Hill Golf Course used to be less inviting to black golfers, which was true more than 50 years ago during the time that African Americans could not buy homes east of York Street.

But in the last 30 years, the course was very popular with black golfers, including the late Councilman Bill Roberts, former District Attorney Norm Early, Denver School Board member Ed Garner and many black resident golfers. It is misleading and unfortunate that anyone would create a narrative that this is a racial issue.

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Former Mayor Webb raises storm of complaint over fate of Park Hill Golf Course

North Denver News

Former Denver Wellington Webb sent an open letter to the Denver City Council, demanding a public vote on the future of the Park Hill Golf Course, a Denver treasure and rare open space clearly in the sights of a developer:

Good evening. First I would like to commend the Hancock administration, the Denver City Council and the voters for the passage of 2A and the dedication to our city parks. As you know, parks and open space have always been a core value for me my entire life, including my public career during which Colorado Open Space Council gave me a 100 percent rating as a Colorado state representative.

I believe it is important to briefly recap that commitment so you can fully understand why the issue at hand and the council’s actions are vital to the city’s future. The history of preserving, expanding and protecting Denver’s parks and open space included many hours of blood, sweat and tears. The outcome is that Denver has a vital park system, which unfortunately is shrinking at a drastic rate.

In 1987, after being elected Denver Auditor, I supported a community group that opposed the use of the City Park Pavilion for use as a general city office building. This followed a previous precedent set by Auditor William McNichols who took the position that parks are suppose to be used for parks and not city agencies. This position was also supported by Colorado District Court Judge Clifford Flowers, who ruled by injunction that the city could not locate general offices in city parks.

Once I became Mayor we bought land in Jefferson County to preserve the open space on the road to the Red Rocks Amphitheater, except for the three mini-mansions already on the land which would be preserved in perpetuity. We then moved to acquire approximately 75 acres of park land, a skate board park and roads and infrastructure behind Union Station. I would once again thank Councilwoman Kendra Black for initiating the recognition for me and former Denver City Councilwoman Joyce Foster on the development of the skate board park.

My administration also redeveloped the decommissioned Lowry Air Force base, including 800 acres of new park land. We followed with completing the negotiations with Forest City Enterprises on the amount of park and open space at Stapleton, which concluded with the addition of another 1,100 acres to the city’s park space.

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Former Mayor Webb raises storm of complaint over fate of Park Hill Golf Course – North Denver News