THE PARK HILL GOLF COURSE SHOULD BE A PUBLIC PARK

 In a city nearing 700,000 people, it’s never been more important to protect, preserve, and grow our parks and recreational opportunities.”  Mayor Michael Hancock, 2017 State of the City Address

If not a golf course, THE PARK HILL GOLF COURSE LAND SHOULD BE A PUBLIC PARK

HERE’S WHY

A LAST OPPORTUNITY: The 155 acres of Park Hill Golf Course (PHGC) land, located on Colorado Blvd. between 35th and 40th Avenues, present one of the last opportunities in Denver to preserve a significant open space and create a large park without massive economic investment. In this increasingly densified city, smart public policy would not sacrifice this unique open space to housing and other development desires that must be strategically met elsewhere.

ZONING & A PERPETUAL CONSERVATION EASEMENT PROTECT THE LAND:
The PHGC land is currently zoned OS-B (Open Space-Recreation). Additionally, in 1997 the City of Denver paid the George W. Clayton Trust $2 million for a perpetual open space conservation easement on the land. Therefore, since 1997 the easement has prevented development on the land in perpetuity.

DENVER NEEDS MORE PARKLAND:
The 2019 Trust for Public Lands’ park score ranks Denver 29th of the 100 largest U. S. cities in parkland adequacy, down from a ranking of 13th in 2012. Denver ranks well below cities of comparable size, like Washington, D,C., Seattle, Portland and Boston.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD NEEDS A PARK:
Denver Department of Parks and Recreation describes the PHGC neighborhood as “park poor.” The Park Hill Golf Course land has much of the infrastructure, trees, and grass needed for a park, and the site is close to public transportation (RTD’s No. 40 bus and the new A-Line)

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Save The Green Space At Park Hill Golf Course

Guest Commentary

Denver Post Perspective Feb 10, 2019

By: Harry Doby

Denver Post reporter Bruce Finley’s excellent series about the desperate need for more green space and large new parks in Denver raises several fundamental issues: Lack of available land, competition from developers for the land that is available, and equity for residents in industrial or economically deprived neighborhoods.

Since 2016, residents of Park Hill and neighboring communities have grappled with this issue over the last remaining significant parcel of open space — the 155-acre Park Hill Golf Course. The current owner of the course, Clayton Trust, is looking to sell it to help fund its mission of providing early learning opportunities for children. The golf course, built in 1930, is zoned for open space-recreation, not development. Since 1997 it has been explicitly protected by a perpetual conservation easement that Denver taxpayers paid $2 million for under the administration of former Mayor Wellington Webb.

The city negotiated with Clayton in 2017 to purchase the land for approximately $24 million. But instead of the obvious choice to follow the city’s own Parks and Recreation Game Plan and turn the land into a regional park, the city’s agreement would cancel the conservation easement and allow development of this open space into high-density housing.

Fortunately, this has not yet happened, unfortunately, that is only because the golf course operator, Arcis, essentially told Clayton and the city “Not so fast, Slick.” Arcis’ contract with Clayton allows for two 5-year lease extensions plus first right of refusal to purchase the land.

While this caused the city to pause its plans to purchase the property, it still temporarily shut down the property for the Platte-to-Park Hill flood control project. Arcis later filed suit to further establish their hold on the land which will increase their leverage in any future negotiations should the property change hands.

 

Complete Article Found Here

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