Save Open Space Denver Calls for City Council to Protect PHGC Conservation Easement

For Immediate Release

Denver, July 11, 2019 – Save Open Space Denver has been fighting to preserve the last remaining sizable parcel of green space remaining in the heart of Park Hill.  Today’s abrupt deal by local developer Westside Investment Partners to purchase Park Hill Golf Course land raises many questions. Why would a private company make a highly risky, speculative purchase of a property zoned as Open Space that is protected by a $2 million perpetual conservation easement?  In order for this deal to be profitable to Westside, the city council will surely face intense pressure to terminate the conservation easement which protects the land from development. If that succeeds, then the next battle will be over rezoning — without which Westside will have the opportunity to own a wonderful private park or golf course. With many alternative industrial properties near this land ripe for redevelopment into high density housing and retail, it is a false choice to say we must sacrifice open space to development.

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Wellington Webb Doesn’t Want Park Hill Golf Club to Be Next “Paved Paradise”

By  | JULY 9, 2019 | Westword

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A deal set to close on Thursday will put 155 acres of open space in the heart of northeast Denver — currently the Park Hill Golf Club — into the hands of developer Westside Investment Partners. The deal is the latest episode in a contentious and lawsuit-ridden negotiation between the city, current owner Clayton Early Learning, and locals who don’t want to see the land built up.

One of the loudest recent voices in the fight is former mayor Wellington Webb, who thought that his administration had protected the land permanently over twenty years ago. “The goal was to save the land as open space,” says Webb, who had no intention of being a stalwart on this issue — “I hoped somebody else would do it. I’m semi-retired!” — but now feels compelled to speak out.

“[Open space] is what makes cities unique,” he says. “Cities without open space, they tend to [have] too much density, too many crowds…just a terrible way for a city to live.”

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Will You Sign Our Petition?

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Park Hill Golf Course is the last large (155 acre) open space in Denver sitting along Colorado Blvd. between 35th and 40th Avenues. In 1997, Mayor Wellington Webb championed the preservation of this open space by purchasing a $2 million conservation easement from the Clayton Foundation to last in perpetuity.  Clayton sold their development rights to Denver and Denver tax payers paid the bill. Only City Council can release the conservation agreement.

Denver has increasingly lost open space in favor of development and is on the rise for air and water pollution, and flood risks for lack of permeable surface. The schedule closing date for the sale of the Park Hill Golf Course is July 11th by Westside Investment Partners, a seasoned developer.

Denver was once known as a City within a park. Sign this petition in favor of upholding the Conservation Easement in perpetuity and let our elected officials know that the citizens of Denver voted for 2A and want to see action.

Sign the petition here http://chng.it/NzyMjDGL

SAVE THE PARK HILL GOLF COURSE LAND FROM DEVELOPMENT

Needing money in 1997 during the Webb administration, the George W. Clayton Trust (“Clayton”) was interested in a transaction with the City involving the Park Hill Golf Course (“PHGC”) land. Clayton hired an appraiser who valued Clayton’s potential development rights for the PHGC land at $2 million. Based upon that valuation, Clayton negotiated with the City for Clayton to receive $2 million in exchange for Clayton’s grant of a perpetual open space conservation easement on the PHGC land to the City. Clayton thereby relinquished its development rights in the property, which is zoned OS-B (Open Space-Recreation). In 2000, for the tax benefit of Clayton, the City and Clayton entered into an agency agreement (“agency agreement”) whereby the conservation easement was released subject to Clayton’s obligation to grant it again in the event that Clayton might terminate the agency agreement.

Since at least 2017, the future of the PHGC land perpetual open space conservation easement has been in jeopardy.

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