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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.