The following thoughts were sent to the Denver Post
Now that the election is over, I’m not surprised to read of an
all-but-done deal to sell Park Hill Golf Course to a private party on
July 11th. Despite the current occupant’s two pending lawsuits, a 5
year lease to operate as a golf course with an option for a second 5
years, plus an expressed desire to exercise their first right of refusal
to purchase the land, notwithstanding Mayor Webb’s 1997 $2 million
perpetual conservation easement, and of course mandatory rezoning
hearings by the city before it can be developed, somehow — miraculously
— a private developer has the confidence that none of that will stop
them from turning a tidy profit on this land. As their website proudly
proclaims: “Understand and account for foreseeable risk, Acquire
properties for less than they are worth today, Pursue irreplaceable
assets, Pursue properties other investment groups avoid”.
Meanwhile, dilapidated industrial properties that are ripe for
redevelopment into retail and housing nearby the golf course lie unloved
and ignored, while the shiny specter of new highrises on virgin
openspace capture the imagination of developers, lobbyists and
politicians in the city. All the buyer and their agents need is for
newly re-elected Mayor Hancock and enough City Council members to roll
over and say “scratch my belly”.
So 155 acres of beautiful open space with mountain views and hundreds of mature trees are likely being sold to Westside Development Partners, a developer whose apparent sole intention for the land is to do what they do — develop (along with donating considerable amounts of money to Mayoral and City Council campaigns). We will all be told it’s what Denver needs and that it will somehow magically solve the “affordable housing crisis” that has gone unsolved for much of the tenure of the Hancock administration. It will also no doubt be billed as having parks and recreation included. Sorry Denver elected leaders, but a “pocket park” doesn’t count anywhere on this earth as a real park.
It’s time for our newly elected City Council members to stand firm and say enough is enough, and use the resources available to Denver (thanks to a sales tax increase!) to make the PHGC land a public park so the surrounding area can finally be rid of the “park desert” designation. This PHGC land has a conservation easement on it for a reason, and that reason along with the definition of conservation easement have not changed over the decades the easement has been in place. One thing that does need to change, however, is the easy button Denver’s City Council has historically used to rubber stamp the unchecked hungry developers who want to make their money by destroying the open landscape that makes this city beautiful.
David Martin June 20
The Park Hill Golf Course land was just sold to Westside Development Partners, a developer. While nothing can be done to stop the transaction, a lot can be done to ensure that it is not turned into a concrete jungle. I moved out of the Highlands three years ago onto this golf course because the Highlands had become too dense, too crowded, too loud. The area became unbearable for me and afforded a poor quality of life, thanks to overdevelopment. I’m challenging our newly elected City Council members to actually act like leaders and ensure the golf course land remains a public park, so I don’t have to move out of Colorado. Because in all honesty, that’s the next step. In addition to not wanting to live in a mountainous state that is now filled with concrete, I’m tired of city leaders kowtowing to developers and not executing on the wishes of the people they serve. This land has a conservation easement on it, so if Denver’s City Council does not cave, it can remain a public park. Will be interesting to see if we have real leaders in place who citizens can respect, or followers – which to me – is another name for cowards.
July 21 2019