Denver, CO

Park Hill golf course may be paved over

David Heitz

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City and County of Denver/Google Earth

One side calls it “Green v. Concrete.” The other side “Park Hill Golf Course Reimagined.”

That’s what a developer has dubbed its website, which urges a yes vote on a ballot measure that would allow the property to be developed.

The property currently is required to remain a golf course under an easement. The ballot measure would remove the easement.

But the other side has a ballot measure of its own. They are urging “Yes on 301, no on 302,” referencing their measure to preserve open space and the ballot question that would develop the golf course.

Save Open Space Denver says the community’s greenspaces are endangered. “The two organizations have been at odds about the future of the 155 acres of green space in Northeast Denver for years now,” SOS explains on its website. “SOS Denver wants all of the space turned into a park, while Westside wants to build a mixed-use development, promising some park space, too.”

Westside and Holleran wants to build community

The developer sees things differently. “While the measure filed by SOS claims to be about open space, it only applies to the Park Hill Golf Course property and would essentially disregard the visioning process for the Northeast Park Hill neighborhood,” the developer states on its website. “More importantly, if the SOS measure passes, the whole city will get to vote on any change to this property, essentially giving the rest of the city veto power over Northeast Park Hill and what they may want to see this space become for the community.”

The developer for the golf course is Westside and Holleran. “Westside and Holleran Group are proud to be working together on envisioning what the Park Hill Golf Course property can be,” its website explains. “Westside and Holleran’s values align around an equitable approach to development that includes the community every step of the way.”

The developer counts as a feather its cap the redevelopment of a college campus in Loretto Heights. “After extensive outreach to local residents and an in-depth planning process, we decided to ask the city for less density than the property was zoned for to protect its historic nature,” the developer explains. “In the end, Westside was able to lay out a project that provided open space and much needed affordable housing, while preserving many of the historic buildings.”

Both sides ramp up campaigns

Both groups have ramped up their campaigns in recent days ahead of the November ballot questions. The developer is promoting its website on Facebook and the green group has erected yard signs.

“This November, we will be in a David v. Goliath fight to provide additional protection for this land as a developer wants to extinguish the existing conservation easement and build mixed-use development on this pristine land,” explains SOS/Green v. Concrete on its website. “We have a vision for this land that was inspired by programs in place and proven successful in other cities.”

Green v. Concrete wants the golf course to remain a community gathering space. The group bemoans Denver’s rapid development in recent years and say little green space remains.

“Yes for Parks and Open Space is an initiative launched by a group of concerned citizens who want to ensure that the voters in the City and County of Denver have a voice in how the land in our designated parks and open spaces, protected by conservation easements, can be used – starting with the 155 acres former Park Hill Golf Course,” the website declares.

City envisions mixed-use development

For its part, the city says residents want a mix of greenspace and development. “Top themes that emerged in conversations with residents included a desire for recreational opportunities like parks and open space, some local retail space including for groceries, and more affordably priced for-sale homes,” the city explains on the golf course’s visioning website.

“The most popular topic discussed was a desire for the next phase of the former golf course to create community, with ways for people to cultivate bonds with neighbors in outdoor spaces, such as parks and outdoor venues, through small businesses, and over food. The desire for community connections was common across differing viewpoints and bridged the gap between development and open space.”

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best newspapers in the country. Today, I specialize in Denver local news, health reporting, social justice issues, addiction/recovery/mental health news, and topics surrounding homelessness and human trafficking.

Denver, CO
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