Salazar: All should fight for water, land

Former secretary of the interior sees conservation as a way to close physical, social, political divides

By Judith Kohler

The Denver Post

Throughout his career in Colorado state government, the U.S. Senate and as secretary of the interior, Ken Salazar has focused on the natural environment and the people who rely on it.

His motto was “Fighting for Colorado’s Land, Water and People” during his successful campaigns for state attorney general and the Senate. The motto took on broader significance when former President Barack Obama chose him to lead the Interior Department.

“That’s always been at the heart of who I am, understanding the importance of rivers, water, land, open space and wildlife,” said Salazar, whose family’s roots are deep in Colorado’s San Luis Valley and northern New Mexico.

Salazar, now a partner with the international law firm WilmerHale, was intent on keeping his focus on conservation. Two years ago, he cofounded the Salazar Center for North American Conservation.

It is his hope that with the country more polarized than ever, Americans can find common ground on the most pressing environmental problems — climate change, land use, water quality and quantity — and that the center can bring together diverse ideas and people.

“I think the area of conservation, how we protect our lands, our air and our water, can be a great unifier for a very divided world and a very divided nation,” said Salazar.

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Westside names outreach-focused partner in Park Hill Golf Club redevelopment effort

Business Den Thomas Gounley October 22, 2020 0

The company that purchased the Park Hill Golf Club property in the summer of 2019 has named a partner as it pursues redevelopment.

Glendale-based Westside Investment Partners, which paid $24 million for the shuttered 150-acre course along Colorado Boulevard, said Thursday that The Holleran Group has joined the redevelopment ownership team.

Denver-based Holleran will focus on community outreach and engagement.

“We’ve consistently said that we want to have the voice of the community involved here, and we think that this partnership increases our capacity for that,” Westside Principal Kenneth Ho said during a press call.

The city is preparing to lead a small-area planning process for the property, which will involve collecting community feedback, Ho said.

Holleran was formed in 2017 by Norman Harris and Ty Hubbard, two Black Denver natives, according to its website. The firm is involved in the acquisition, development and management of real estate.

Harris said development of the former course — which can’t happen without several key approvals from the city — needs to benefit the neighborhoods that surround it.

“We discovered Holleran and Westside’s values align around a socially equitable approach to development that not only assures that our neighborhood has the loudest voice in the process but that the neighborhood shares in the economic benefit,” Harris said.

He added, “Our ultimate outcome needs to be the empowerment of the northeast Denver community.”

Hubbard said neighborhood financial benefits could come in the form of “homeownership, job creation, investment opportunities and other initiatives.”

Redevelopment of the course, which closed to golfers at the end of 2018, faces hurdles.

The property currently has a conservation easement on it, which essentially restricts use to an 18-hole golf course. That could be amended by the Denver City Council, which would also need to approve a rezoning of the property.

In August, Denver City Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca asked her colleagues to place a measure on the city’s November ballot that would have allowed voters to determine whether the course could be redeveloped. But the council voted 10 to 3 to instead demote CdeBaca’s bill to committee for further discussion.

Redevelopment of the course is expected to include numerous uses. Ho has said that Westside will set aside at least 60 of the acres as a park.

FULL ARTICLE HERE

Denver Starting Small-Area Planning Process for Park Hill Golf Club

Conor McCormick-Cavanagh| October 23, 2020 | 7:55am
Westword

Denver will soon initiate a small-area planning process for the 155-acre property that includes the now-closed Park Hill Golf Club, and the developer that bought the property has agreed to participate.

“I want to reaffirm our commitment to honestly listening to the people who will bring this project to life and to a transparent and equitable dialogue,” says Kenneth Ho, the project lead at Westside Investment Partners, in a statement announcing the agreement. “We recognize that there is a higher bar for community benefits on this site, and we are committed to ensuring that the end result of this project reflects the values and needs of the community.”

The announcement comes two months after Denver City Council voted against referring a measure to the ballot that would have required voter approval for the city to lift any conservation easements, which limit development possibilities for the property. For decades, the Park Hill Golf Club has been under a conservation easement that largely prevents it from being used for anything other than a golf course, according to an analysis by city attorneys.

FULL ARTICLE IS HERE