Op Ed: Denver Is Missing the Open-Space Opportunity of the Century!

Westword Maria Flora| March 4, 2018 | 7:40am

Park Hill Golf Club

Denver is missing the open-space opportunity of the century. Park Hill Golf Course (PHGC), located east of Colorado Boulevard between 35th and 40th avenues, now provides 155 acres of open space (zoned OS-B, Open Space – Recreation) for our city. It is owned by Clayton Trust, a nonprofit that provides educational programs for children from birth to five years. In 1997, Denver paid $2 million to Clayton for a perpetual conservation easement on PHGC, requiring that the land be used for open space, specifically an 18-hole golf course, and prohibiting any development of the property. If an October 13, 2000, Agency Agreement between Denver and Clayton is terminated for any reason, Clayton is obligated to grant all rights to PHGC to the city. It seems that Denver holds all the cards it needs to acquire the PHGC land and designate it as a city park or allow its current use as an 18-hole golf course.

The Trust for Public Land gives Denver an overall park score of only 64 out of 100. For park land as a percent of city area, Denver is at only 8 percent, out of a high of 20 percent, according to TPL. PHGC is the largest remaining tract available to fill this park shortage in Denver.

Mayor Michael B. Hancock is co-chair of Mayors for Parks. In its website video, Hancock says that parks “are vital to the overall health and sustainability of our city, the overall economic development of our city, and it’s important for me to elevate that. …”

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