Denver Post, February 7, 2021
By Woody Garnsey
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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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 .
Open Space Group Kicks Off Petition Drive To Protect Park Hill Golf Course Land As City Announces ‘Visioning’ Plan For Development
By Cara DeGette
Editor, GPHN Feb 2 2021
The neighborhood group, Save Open Space Denver, has launched a new petition drive for a ballot measure that would protect the Park Hill Golf Course land from potential development.
Their efforts come at the same time the city’s planning department, in conjunction with Westside Investment Partners, has unveiled a formal “visioning” process to determine how the property could be built out.
The dual efforts are the latest in an ongoing tug-of-war over the sprawling 155-acre property at the northwest corner of Park Hill, at 35th and Colorado Boulevard. In 1997, Denver taxpayers paid $2 million for a conservation easement to preserve the land as a golf course or for other recreational purposes. The golf course has been closed since 2018. Last year, Westside Investment Partners paid $24 million for the property with the easement in place – far below market values for recent comparable commercial transactions in the area.
Westside has made it clear that it plans to develop the property — what has been less clear is how it could do so with the easement in place. State law requires a judge to make a final determination before such easements can be lifted.
The ballot question, if voter-approved, would prohibit Denver from terminating the conservation easement without a vote of the people.
Denver Post January 22, 2021
By Jevon Taylor
Being a “city within a park” is not just good for business; it’s critical to Denver’s sustainability. For a city that envisions itself as a “city within a park,” Denver is one of the lowest-ranking American cities in park acres per resident. Intertwined with ongoing growth and development throughout the city is the need to balance the amount of green space and nature within our communities. Each of us needs to rethink our definition of “green space” to include not only parks and open space but trees and greenery built into the spaces in between.
As our city continues to grow, we, as business owners and community stakeholders, need to be the leaders behind a more tangible, accessible solution and look to retrofitting existing spaces. That includes businesses such as mine in Five Points, working with one of Denver’s largest developers, EDENS, and partners such as the National Wildlife Federation and Denver Botanic Gardens to invest proactively in breaking up concrete and incorporating greenery in our rights of way and storefronts. By working with local community members, nearby schools, customers and the city of Denver, our collaboration will transform the space we manage to attract more business, improve people’s health and contribute to the fabric of the community.
This isn’t just a movement to make the city more aesthetically pleasing. There are well-known mental and physical health benefits of time spent around greenery and in nature, such as lower stress and greater physical activity — not to mention environmental benefits such as reduced heat and better air quality. But as a small business owner in downtown Denver, I can’t ignore the added benefit that customers are willing to pay 8% to 12% more where there’s attractive landscaping. Stormwater bills and air conditioning expenses also are affected by what we do with hot, “impervious” concrete outside our storefronts.
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City forester laments “concrete is definitely getting poured faster than we are planting trees”
By Bruce Finley | firstname.lastname@example.org | The Denver PostPUBLISHED: January 3, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. | UPDATED: January 3, 2021 at 9:10 a.m.73
Denver leaders who for two decades have backed densification, paving over greenspace with concrete and asphalt to accommodate more people in the city, now are turning to trees for relief from worsening heat islands that amplify climate warming.
But urban ecologists and city officials say trees alone won’t be enough to keep Denver habitable as temperatures increase. They urge a far more ambitious expansion of greenspace.
“And concrete is definitely getting poured faster than we are planting trees,” city forester Mike Swanson told The Denver Post.
Heat islands — dense urban areas that are much warmer than their surroundings — have widened, data shows, with Denver emerging as one of the nation’s most “impervious,” or paved-over, cities. Older neighborhoods where houses have yards may be more resilient, researchers have found, because compared with redeveloped parts of the city, these landscapes don’t radiate as much heat.
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