Welcome to City Park Friends and Neighbors (CPFAN). Our mission is to actively protect the classical pastoral character of City Park, located in Denver, Colorado. Membership is free.
Press Conference “Ditch The Ditch” Filed Law Suit
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Opponents of CDOT’s I-70 Widening File Suit Against the Federal Highway Administration
By David Sachs
In February, Colorado Department of Transportation Director Shailen Bhatt told a group of people fighting the widening of I-70 through north Denver neighborhoods to “sue us.” The advocates took his advice.
The lawsuit against the Federal Highway Administration, brought by developer Kyle Zeppelin and other opponents of the highway widening, will officially be filed Monday — the last possible date to challenge the environmental impact statement (EIS).
FHWA approved and is helping to fund CDOT’s project. The complaint says the agency violated the National Environmental Protection Act by failing to conduct sufficient oversight of the project’s EIS.
The suit takes specific aim at the agreement Denver reached with CDOT in 2015 that put local taxpayers on the hook for a project to funnel stormwater away from the 40-foot ditch the agency plans to dig to widen the freeway. The FHWA approved an EIS that did not account for the flood protection project, and the lawsuit aims to “show that both the City of Denver and CDOT intentionally hid the connection between the Platte to Park Hill Drainage Project and the Central I-70 project,” according to a press release.
Other lawsuits are still pending against CDOT’s plan to triple the footprint of I-70, which would generate more traffic and displace people in the mostly low-income, Latino neighborhoods of Elyria, Swansea, and Globeville. Advocates fighting the highway widening are going for a cumulative effect in court.
“Rather than have a single strategy, we’re trying to have a multi-pronged strategy,” said Brad Evans, who runs the Ditch the Ditch advocacy group and is also a plaintiff.
In related legal developments, there will be hearing in DC this September for a lawsuit that challenges the Environmental Protection Agency’s lax air quality standards. And there’s also an active lawsuit against the city over the City Park Golf Course water detention plan tied to I-70.
“The ideal outcome would be to put an end to the whole project,” said Jennifer Winkel, a local activist and spokesperson for the plaintiffs. “There are four lawsuits, and this is the one that will stall it, buy us some time … If we tie it up in the courts, that buys us time for the other lawsuits to do what they need to do.”
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HISTORIC DENVER SPEAKS UP FOR THE PRESERVATION OF HISTORIC CITY PARK GOLF COURSE
CDOT Response June 2017
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Continued Community Opposition to I-70 Expansion and Denver’s Stormwater Project
Posted: June 21, 2017 at 10:39 am by KGNU News
The Colorado Department of Transportation is planning to expand the 10-mile section of I-70 that runs between I-25 and Chambers Road in Denver. The Elyria/Swansea and Globeville neighborhoods will be most impacted, with opponents to the project saying these low-income neighborhoods will suffer from years of construction disruption and that ultimately the project will lead to more gentrification. CDOT’s plans would see the existing two-mile viaduct demolished and in its place a highway below ground level that will be triple the width of the existing road.
Opponents say the expansion would displace at least 56 households and worsen local air quality. More than 80 percent of residents in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood are Latino, and a third of the residents live in poverty. Opponents of the highway expansion used those demographics in a lawsuit to stop the project, saying that poor and minority communities would be disproportionately impacted. In April Federal civil rights investigators found that CDOT’s plan would be less discriminatory toward Elyria-Swansea and Globeville, than any other option studied.
A group of protestors gathered in Denver on Sunday June 18th, at the corner of 26th Ave & York St., to raise awareness of the impact of the highway expansion on local communities. They were joined by allies from other community groups concerned about a massive ditch project in Denver and the redesign of City Park golf club as part of wider flood management.
Last year, Denver City Council approved an increase to the storm water fee which would finance some major storm water improvements in the city including the Platte to Park Hill project which includes a 1 1/2 mile above ground channel that would carry water to the Platte, along 39th Street. A detention area will be developed in City Park, to allow the city to contain the water and slowly release it into the existing pipe system with a view to reducing flooding.
Candi CdeBaca, the founder of the neighborhood group Cross Community Coalition told KGNU’s Dave Ashton that the drainage projects must be completed before the I-70 expansion can begin and that’s why the projects are all connected.
“In the contract for the I-70 ditch, the stormwater protection, the 100 year protection has to be done first before they can begin construction on the actual I-70 ditch.”
CdeBaca says that CDOT is going against a national trend of scaling back on urban highways. “We’ve watched cities across the country and across the world really, taking down urban interstates. We’ve recognized that in the ’50s and ’60s it was a mistake and they were designed for military, and now we know the health impacts, we know the community impacts of interstates. And so other places are taking down freeways while we’re here expanding, tripling the size of a freeway through an 84% Latino neighborhood. But we’ve already seen the impacts here: 7% higher rates of asthma, cardiovascular death, cardiovascular disease, cancer and we’re digging through the most polluted site in America.”
CdeBaca says that as Globeville is a superfund site, construction from the highway expansion will release toxins into the air. Globeville was recently designated as one of the most polluted zipcodes in the US, as a result of decades of industrial activity, which contaminated the soil with lead, arsenic and heavy metals.
Brad Evans of Ditch the Ditch says that all people who live in Denver should be concerned about the stormwater projects and the I-70 expansion. “There is a couple of billion dollars going into this that we’re all paying for.”
LaMone Noles, President of City Park Friends and Neighbors says that the lawsuit to stop the destruction of City Park golf course should make it into court in August. Noles says that all Denverites should be concerned about what’s happening in City Park. “The construction is expected to last 18 months to 2 years. There’s going to be a construction fence all the way around the project. There’s going to be disruption to traffic – pedestrian traffic as well as cars. There’s going to be construction dust, environmental pollution. Over 200 trees are going to be cut down in the inner areas of the golf course – it’s going to be total destruction.”
Hear an interview with Candy CdeBaca
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YOUR INPUT NEEDED ON CITY PARK MASTER PLAN UPDATE
Please click the following link to take a short survey on your desires/ideas/hopes regarding the future of City Park. In particular, please fill in the final entry where your personal comments are requested. Your responses will help shape the future of City Park.
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PRESS RELEASE: CITY PARK FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS (RNO) LAWSUIT INFO
PRESS RELEASE: CITY PARK FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS (RNO)
CPFAN Contacts: Maria Flora 303.345.7811 / Bridget Walsh 720.440.3562
Government Secrecy Largely Prevails in MacFarlane et al v. Denver Fight Continues to Save Historic City Park Golf Course (CPGC)
While Richard Nixon could not assert an “executive privilege” to prevent the public from knowing the truth behind Watergate, the City of Denver, is using “deliberative process privilege” to withhold information in City Park Golf Course law suit.
On June 5, 2017, the Denver District Court heard arguments regarding the City’s assertion that 220 documents (7,400 pages) should be protected by the “deliberative process” privilege—which stems from the “executive privilege”.
The Court ruled that the 7400 pages should not be handed over to the Plaintiffs
(people suing the city to protect CPGC) in the CPGC lawsuit. The City has repeatedly claimed in public and under oath, that they are committed to transparency and have nothing to hide. However, in court, the City
sang a different tune, claiming that disclosure of the 7400 pages of emails and documents would somehow chill future candid discussion among city leaders and staff.
However, the Court ruled in Plaintiff’s favor on another discovery issue. The Court ordered that the City—by this Thursday, June 9—revise and expand upon its responses to various Requests for Admission (questions). The more complete answers may provide Plaintiffs with ammunition to demonstrate the unprecedented nature of the City’s proposed use for City Park Golf Course as a component of the Platte to Park Hill storm drain system.
Plaintiffs are grateful for the many contributions, to date, towards legal costs. However, our reserves are dwindling. We need additional funds to cover our costs for this last stretch leading to the August 21 trial date—including the production of exhibits, additional filing fees, process server fees for trial subpoenas and expert witness fees (several experts are donating their time, but Plaintiffs have engaged two “paid” experts).
Attorneys Aaron Goldhamer and Tony Vaida, are counsel of record and are donating their time.
Additional contributions are necessary and will be well-utilized.
There are two ways to contribute:
1. Send a check made out to Keating Wagner Polidori Free, P.C., with “MacFarlane Costs” in the memo line, and mail
to 1290 Broadway, Suite 600, Denver, CO 80203.
2. Go to www.gofundme.com/cityparklegalfund
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We need your generous help to win the legal battle to save City Park Golf Course.
Why does City Park Golf Course need to be saved?
As you know, the city is proceeding with its plans to “repeal and replace” City Park Golf Course as part of its agreement with the Colorado Department of Transportation to provide drainage for the I-70 lowered highway project.
How can we save it?
Since the City Park Golf Course project is only one piece in a very large interconnected series of projects that include local, state, and federal involvement, the best, and possibly only, way to stop its destruction is through the lawsuit initiated by Aaron Goldhamer, representing JD MacFarlane (former Colorado Attorney General). Recently a number of other neighbors and Council Member Rafael Espinoza have requested to join as plaintiffs.
Why is the lawsuit a good bet?
We believe that this suit is the right thing to do and that it stands on the right side of the letter and spirit of the common law and the Charter.
How will my donation be used?
Aaron is conducting the litigation pro bono, but he needs our help with funds to pay for expenses related to the suit, including deposition costs, court fees, document production costs, and expert witnesses. He has asked us to raise $20,000 by the end of this month. We are calling on every member of CPFAN to help with a donation.
Where do I send my donation and how will the money be held?
Aaron’s firm, Keating Wagner Polidori Free, has established a client trust account for the City Park Golf Course litigation. Donations can be made:
- online at GoFundMe webpage Save City Park Golf Course Legal Fund
- by check made out to “Keating Wagner Polidori Free, P.C. Client Trust Account” indicating in the lower left corner “CPGC Lawsuit” and mailed to Keating Wagner Polidori Free, P.C., Attn: Aaron Goldhamer 1290 Broadway, Suite 600 Denver, CO 80203
Please donate today!
Many of you have already contributed. If you have not yet donated, please do so today.
CPFAN Board: Hank Bootz, John Van Sciver, Louis Plachowski, Jacqui Lansing, JD MacFarlane, LaMone Noles, Vicki Eppler
P.S. Don’t miss a bonus opportunity to boost your donation’s value: Susan Barnes-Gelt will match new contributions to the GoFundMe page up to $2000. Thank you, Susan!
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Sign our petition to stop Denver Mayor Michael Hancock from destroying an historic public park to put in an industrial storm drainage sump. Click the button at left to see more and sign the petition.
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