Greater Park Hill News, July 2020
Former Mayor Wellington E 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