Category Archives: Golf Course

Opponents of CDOT’s I-70 Widening File Suit Against the Federal Highway Administration

By David Sachs

Street Blogs Denver

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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UPDATE: LAW SUIT TO SAVE HISTORIC CITY PARK GOLF COURSE FROM DESTRUCTION

By Bridget Walsh, CPFAN Member

The city of Denver wants to install one large part of a huge, industrial, storm water drain, Platte to Park Hill (P2PH), in historic .City Park Golf Course (CPGC) The drain is designed to keep the controversial expansion and lowering  of Highway I 70 , from flooding. It could also save the developers around the Western Stock Show much of the cost of doing their own water mitigation. P2PH could also facilitate  the construction of Olympic Village 2026, a plan that seems to have been hatched by Denver elites, the Mayor and the Governor. Has anyone asked you?

Both the highway expansion and the drain are destructive, old fashioned infrastructure  “solutions” that many say, will not serve Denver residents well as we face new age challenges. Both of these projects, I 70 and the drain,  seem to be  robbing Colorado taxpayers of billions of dollars that are sorely needed all over Colorado, for progressive, green solutions to real challenges such as climate change, water conservation, hotter temperatures, water wars, severe weather, dirty air, soil and water, etc.

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Protestors try building support to stop I-70 expansion

June 18, 2017, by

Fox/Channel 2 News Jun 18, 2017

Original Article Found Here

DENVER — We’ve been talking about expanding I-70 through the metro for nearly 15 years. And still, opposition to it stands strong–literally.

Dozens of folks came out to continue fighting the I-70 Expansion project they say is too expensive and won’t do much to reduce traffic congestion on Sunday.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) built the section of I-70 in the 1960’s. And now, CDOT will rebuild what’s considered the worst-rated bridge starting early next year.

That is, unless, a group with their “Ditch the Ditch” signs, can halt the highway.

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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.

The Court relied on the City Attorney’s representation that Plaintiffs have been provided with all final drafts of the withheld documents and didn’t need to see anything else. The Court also sided with the City regarding subpoenas that were issued to proposed contractors for the project. Despite having two proposals in hand from contractors for the planned work at CPGC, neither Plaintiffs, nor the public, will be able to view the proposed plans until the City says so.

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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Reinforcements Are Coming in the Grassroots Fight Against I-70 Expansion

 

Published in Denver Streets Blog

ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE

The Center for Health, Environment, and Justice has joined the Elyria Swansea Neighborhood Association in the fight against a wider I-70, granting $5,000 to the cause.

CHEJ is based in Falls Church, Virginia, but has national reach. Environmental health activist Lois Marie Gibbs founded the organization after a successful campaign to get New York state to clean up the Love Canal site in the 1970s. The state had insisted for years that an industrial dumping ground in Niagara Falls had nothing to do with elevated rates of childhood illness and birth defects. Gibbs’ led the fight to protect people from pollutants at Love Canal and became known as the “Mother of Superfund,” the federal program for remediating toxic sites.

The new grant won’t fund litigation against the I-70 project — though legal action is still likely — but will rather amplify the message of Denverites already fighting the project.

“Local residents are the most qualified environmental police CHEJ knows,” Gibbs said in a statement.

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s plan to push more cars through the mostly Latino, low-income neighborhoods of Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea, requires digging a 40-foot ditch. To protect that ditch from flooding, the Hancock administration and Denver City Council made a deal with CDOT: They put Denver taxpayers on the hook for widening I-70 in exchange for flood protection work.

Nearby residents are concerned about the environmental implications of both projects. In addition to the traffic and pollution that come from widening a highway, there’s toxic soil — rife with lead and arsenic — at the site of the outfall project, which is part of a federal Superfund site [PDF]. All this in the most polluted populated area in the United States.

“We just don’t have faith that CDOT, the city, or the [Environmental Protection Agency] has followed required procedures, or that they’ll follow the rules in the future,” ESNA President Drew Dutcher told Streetsblog.

Feeding that distrust, Dutcher said, is the fact that CDOT decided against a prior version of the I-70 ditch because of “unacceptable effects on aquatic and ecological resources and increased potential for encountering contaminated groundwater or soils,” according to a 2008 environmental impact statement (page 3-17). He wants to know what’s changed.

The city is trying to “control the public image” of the projects, Dutcher said, and the grant will counteract that by boosting the research and outreach efforts of north Denver residents.

“We really feel that we’re being spoon-fed information by the city and EPA, and we need resources to just look at all the work that’s being done, how it’s being monitored, what are the possible hazards,” Dutcher said. “So it’s really just kind of a citizen-led effort to understand everything that’s going on.”

ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE

 

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Denver Faces Lawsuit Over City Park Golf Course Flood Prevention Plan

Original Content Found Here Channel 4 Denver

DENVER (CBS4) – Some Denver residents are questioning an expensive plan to prevent flood damage.

The $300 million project would turn part of the City Park Golf Course into a lake. The city says it has to be done, but some neighbors argue the plan just doesn’t make sense.

The Platte to Park Hill Project consists of four smaller projects and promises to stop flooding like one that occurred in the Cole neighborhood. But the part drawing the most ire is the plan to turn the City Park Golf Course Into a retention pond.

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A Denver native who’s not ready to say goodbye to City Park Golf Course as he knows it

DENVER – Driving around town you might have seen some “Ditch the Ditch” signs in people’s yards. Long story short, it all has to do with the expansion of I-70 – and a citywide construction project in Denver to reshape the storm drainage system.

RELATED: I-70 expansion given the green light despite neighborhood objections

The city will tell you the two aren’t connected. The critics say they are. That’s not what this story is about.

Part of that drainage project would build a huge retention pond at City Park Golf course. That means the course will close at the end of this year, and the whole thing will be redesigned. A brand new golf course will open in 2019, but one Andy Lyford is a Denver native with a strong opinion on that.

“I grew up playing City Park Golf Course. It’s one of my happiest places on Earth … It’s in the middle of the city. It has the best views of the city … It’s suffocating. I guess that’s the word I would use because we’re Western people. We’re Colorado people. None of us were originally from here, so we want people to come here. We welcome it, but a lot of times, we feel that the traditions and things that we love are being trampled on. I’m almost 50, but it seems like I’ve seen the amount of growth that most people would see over the course of 100 years…”

Andy was emotional describing what growing up on the course has meant to him. You can hear from Andy in the video above.

The city says this drainage project is necessary to relieve flooding problems in neighborhoods. A group is suing the city over the City Park plan, claiming the city is trying to illegally convert the course into non-park use land

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Denver As ‘China Town’

From the Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle

Raises Funds And Awareness
A few months ago on December 7, 2016, more than 100 people attended the showing of the movie Chinatown, at the Sie Film Center, in support of the lawsuit to stop the destruction of historic City Park
Golf Course and the Globeville Landing Park. Both parks are part of the Platte to Park Hill Storm Drainage project (P2P) being done to enable expansion, undergrounding and partial cover of I-70 and the
massive public/private development of the Platte Valley north of the River North Art District (RiNO).
The movie, set in 1930s Los Angeles, is really about the sinister development of the then agricultural San Fernando Valley. Jake Giddis (Jack Nicholson) stumbles upon a secret plan to divert water to dry
up farm land to buy it cheap and use it for massive commercial and residential development.
The panel discussion that followed featured River North (Taxi) community based developer, Mickey Zeppelin; attorney Aaron Goldhamer; and citizen activist, Christine O’Connor. Zeppelin is gratified by
the grassroots momentum building to stop the current plan for I-70 and the further degradation of the Globeville, Swansea and Elyria communities. He pointed out that Giddis, a private detective, tries to
fight the evil of municipal corruption by himself without the benefit of community, which results in tragic consequences. Goldhamer outlined the lawsuit against the City of Denver challenging the use of
City Park for the non-park use for storm water retention for I-70 and the Platte Valley and asked for community support for the effort. O’Connor outlined the history of the project and how it coincided
with the decision to underground I-70 and expand the Stock Show.
Globeville Swansea Elyria: Victim Of I-70, Stepchildren To The Stock Show and River North

READ MORE HERE

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Donation Request To Save City Park Golf Course

Dear City Park Friends and Neighbors:

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.

The golf course will be closed, fenced off, and dirt removed to substantially lower below grade the western end of the park. Trees will be lost and it is likely that the existing clubhouse will be torn down. Then a completely new course will be designed around the drainage facility.

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?

The City Park Golf Course lawsuit contends that closing the park (City Park Golf Course is a designated Denver park) for 18-24 months and giving it to the Public Works Department to construct a stormwater detention facility violate Colorado common law and the Denver City Charter. Both common law and the Charter protect parks for the public to use for park and recreation purposes. And no park may be leased or sold without a vote of the people (Charter section 2.4.5) and no franchises other than to concessionaires may be granted in parks (Charter section 2.4.6).

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.

Thank you!

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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