There’s a shady (and leafy) divide between Denver’s whiter, wealthier neighborhoods and everyone else

A section of Washington Park with a Tree Equity Score of 100 is seen on Wednesday, August 11, 2021, in Denver. American Forest’s Tree Equity Score metric can assist cities in distributing tree cover across neighborhoods. The score is derived from tree canopy amounts, climate, demographic and socioeconomic data. (Olivia Sun, The Colorado Sun)

Trees and green spaces can make people healthier and happier, but maps show communities of color and low-income neighborhoods across the city have less access to shade.

By Olivia Prentzel The Colorado Sun

Summer days are for shady strolls down a tree-lined street and picnics under a canopy of leaves. But how many trees — and how much shade — a person can find in their neighborhood might depend on how rich it is. 

Not everyone has equal access to trees and the endless benefits they provide, especially when trying to escape the summer’s sweltering heat, according to a map created by a conservation nonprofit.

A recent analysis by American Forests highlights Denver’s shady divide: neighborhoods of color and areas with higher poverty rates have fewer trees than those that are predominantly white and more affluent.

The interactive map highlights the tree canopy in neighborhoods across the city using geospatial and census data to show which parts of the city are less protected by tree cover and more exposed to increasing and unhealthy heat levels.

READ MORE HERE

238 Mature Trees Bulldozed By Developers At Loretto Heights

Did I Read Correctly That The Developer Of Loretto Heights……

Instead of preserving 238 mature trees at Loretto Heights, Westside just chopped them down, and the city was helpless to stop them. In response to a citizen’s letter noting that it will take 30 to 40 years for any replacement trees to provide the equivalent amount of cooling and clean air: ” In the case of Loretto Heights, this is a private development on private property where our office did not have jurisdiction. The Forestry review team provided direction to the developer in regards to trees that should have at least been considered for retention based on a number of criteria, but unfortunately the developer chose a different route. The development proposal called out to preserve some of the trees surrounding the Administration building/quad area and also proposed new street trees within and an adjacent to the development, but you are correct, it will take decades to replace what has been lost. Unfortunately this is a great loss of trees and canopy cover, wildlife corridors, and natural ecological systems, but it has awoken the City to holes in our sustainability and resiliency efforts showing that we need to do better to protect these assets. Hopefully we can address these needs in upcoming policy, rule and ordinance changes, such as the Denver Green Code. Please feel free to contact me with any further questions or concerns and if I cannot address them I will forward them on to someone who can.”

https://denverite.com/2021/06/14/tree-cutting-at-loretto-heights-campus-in-harvey-park-prompts-yells-and-yawns/

From: Myer, Jim P. – DPR CJ1917 Field Superintendent <James.Myer@denvergov.org>
To: dgallag954
Cc: Wilson, Richard A. – DPR Ops Supv <Richard.Wilson@denvergov.org>
Sent: Mon, Jun 14, 2021 8:12 am
Subject: RE: Did I read correctly that the developer of Loretto Heights

Dennis,   Thank you for your inquiry.  Please let me clarify, I supervise the Office of the City Forester’s Plan Review Team that is responsible for the review of development plans that impact the public right-of-way and in certain residential zoned neighborhoods the front setback trees, not a separate inspections/public development office.  In the case of Loretto Heights, this is a private development on private property where our office did not have jurisdiction.  The Forestry review team provided direction to the developer in regards to trees that should have at least been considered for retention based on a number of criteria, but unfortunately the developer chose a different route.  The development proposal called out to preserve some of the trees surrounding the Administration building/quad area and also proposed new street trees within and an adjacent to the development, but you are correct, it will take decades to replace what has been lost.   Unfortunately this is a great loss of trees and canopy cover, wildlife corridors, and natural ecological systems, but it has awoken the City to holes in our sustainability and resiliency efforts showing that we need to do better to protect these assets.  Hopefully we can address these needs in upcoming policy, rule and ordinance changes, such as the Denver Green Code.  Please feel free to contact me with any further questions or concerns and if I cannot address them I will forward them on to someone who can.   Thank you.     

DPR_Color_RGBJim Myer | Forestry Operations Superintendent
james.myer@denvergov.org  p: 720-913-0681 Office of the City Forester|City and County of Denver 

From: Wilson, Richard A. – DPR Ops Supv <Richard.Wilson@denvergov.org>
Sent: Monday, June 14, 2021 6:53 AM
To:dgallag954
Cc: Myer, Jim P. – DPR CJ1917 Field Superintendent <James.Myer@denvergov.org>
Subject: RE: [EXTERNAL] Did I read correctly that the developer of Loretto Heights  

Hello,   I work with the forestry Dept in Parks and Recreation and have no clue what the inspections/ public development office is or isn’t approving. You will need to contact Jim Myer, He is the supervisor of that dept. He is CC’d in on this email for you.  

Thanks,   Rich Wilson |

Forestry Operations Supervisor Board Certified Master Arborist | Tree Risk Qualified | Municipal Specialist RM-0600 Office of the City Forester | Denver Parks and Recreation | City and County of Denver p: (720) 865-0404 Richard.Wilson@Denvergov.org

People want to turn Park Hill Golf Course into a grocery store, athletic fields and other things

You don’t have to read 236 pages about an old golf course to better understand what’s happening next, because we did it for you.

Published in the Denverite

What’s 155 acres, grassy and not a golf course?

Park Hill Golf Course. It closed in 2018 and was sold a year later to Westside Investment Partners, who planned to then work with the city to sort out the land’s excruciatingly complicated conservation easement. Another group called Save Open Space Denver wants Westside to forget developing the land altogether and keep it as-is.

Everyone else has been caught in the middle, including the Park Hill Golf Course Steering Committee, a 27-member board that consists of residents, community leaders, activists and one Westside representative.

The latest insight into community wants and needs comes in the form of a study conducted by RRC Associates, a marketing firm paid by the city. According to their results, people living nearby basically want the big rectangle of space at 35th and Colorado to do multiple jobs. That’s not surprising, according to Sean Maher of RRC.

“Among all household types, races and ethnicities, a combination of green space and development was the preferred option,” he said at a steering committee meeting on June 8.

The study was conducted through two surveys – one was sent via mail to all residents living within 0.8 miles of the site, as well as a few randomly-selected households up to 1 mile away. The other survey was distributed online and was open to the general public. Around 1,300 people and 1,400 people responded to the mail and online surveys, respectively.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

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. …”

READ MORE HERE