Park Hill Golf Course Visioning Process Tees Off This Week

WESTWORD

Conor McCormick-Cavanagh| February 8, 2021 | 8:00am

A steering committee will meet for the first time this week to tee off a “visioning process” for the 155-acre property that encompasses the now-closed Park Hill Golf Course.

“Committee members will meet monthly to help review and consider public feedback, engage others in the visioning process, and ultimately recommend actions for consideration by Denver City Council,” according to the Denver Community Planning and Development website. The 27-person steering committee includes, among others, nearby residents, representatives from local neighborhood organizations, and officials with Westside Investment Partners, the development company that bought the land from a trust for $24 million in 2019. The committee’s first meeting is set for 5 p.m. February 9.

Not to be one-upped by the city, however, at 10:30 a.m. today, February 8, proponents of keeping the golf course property as open space will hold a press conference to “expose some of the very important concerns facing the future of the Park Hill Golf Course land and its conservation easement.”

“It’s our point of view that the entire visioning process is inappropriate and premature. It’s inappropriate because the city has acknowledged it’s developer-led, which is problematic, and it’s not based on city needs overall,” says Penfield Tate, a former state lawmaker and Denver mayoral candidate who has been one of those fighting to keep the land as open space.

That easement dates back decades. Initially, the City of Denver planned to purchase the land, which had been used as a golf course since 1932, from the George W. Clayton Trust, which is managed by Clayton Early Learning, a nonprofit that caters to low-income children and runs a preschool and educational research institute, using $2 million generated by a 1989 bond measure. (At one point, the city had been the trustee of that trust, but was removed in the 1980s.)

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Stop the development of the Park Hill Golf Course

Denver Post, February 7, 2021

By Woody Garnsey

Guest Commentary

Mayor Michael Hancock and his administration are again showing their true colors in support of developing the Park Hill Golf Course land in north Denver. And, they’re doing this despite the fact that the land is zoned “open space-recreation” and is protected from development by a perpetual open space conservation easement that can’t be terminated without a court order.

A month after Hancock’s 2019 reelection victory, real estate developer Westside Investment Partners, Inc., a major pro-Hancock PAC donor, purchased the land subject to the recorded conservation easement.

Here’s how Hancock and his administration have handled the proposed development of this open space land: First, Mayor Hancock clarified in the fall of 2017 that he supported Park Hill Golf Course land development when the city and the then-landowner Clayton floated a plan for the city to purchase the land for development. This plan failed after Clayton’s golf course operator sued to enforce its contractual lease rights.

Second, during his 2019 reelection campaign, Hancock’s opponents and the news media finally forced him to admit that he had development plans for the land.

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Park Hill Golf Course Area Visioning Process

The Denver Department of Community Planning and Development will hold the first meeting of the Community Steering Committee for the “Park Hill Golf Course Area Visioning Process” on February 9, 2021, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. This virtual webinar via Zoom will be open for members of the public to observe, but CPD will not allow public participation. Attendees must register in advance at https://denvergov-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_42fG_ZcAQsm7Oq5QuvQw_A .