Category Archives: Golf Course

Clayton Early Learning – Park Hill Golf Course Community Forum

Please join Clayton Early Learning for Community Forum #3 to continue the community discussion regarding the future of Park Hill Golf Course. The meeting will take place from 7PM-8PM on Thursday September 21, 2017 on the Clayton Campus in the Administration Building. The campus is located at 3801 Martin Luther King Boulevard (Colorado Blvd/Martin Luther King Blvd.) Questions? Please contact Liz Adams ladams@crlassociates.com

This raises several questions:

Can the City release a perpetual Conservation Easement granted to the City for fair value? Even if it can, should it?

What is the value of the 25-are Inundation Easement?

What compensation is the City providing Clayton in exchange for the Inundation Easement?

What is the value of the Conservation Easement?

What is the value of the zoning?

How did they arrive at these values?

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NO VERDICT YET/ CITY TO “DONATE” PARK LAND TO DEVELOPER?

CITY PARK FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS

Sep 7, 2017

WE WILL LET YOU KNOW AS SOON AS WE HAVE A VERDICT ON OUR LAWSUIT TO SAVE HISTORIC CPGC FROM DESTRUCTION

A BAD PRECEDENT? DENVER PARKS WANTS TO “SWAP” A PUBLIC PARK FOR A “PRIVATE” PLAZA. COME & LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD

The city proposes to give a piece of publicly owned property that was supposed to be a green, public park…. to a private
developer. Such a deal for whom?

This property is located on the 2800 block of Fairfax.
Denver Parks & Recreation told Park Hill residents that this property would be made into a public park.
Now the city ( Denver Parks and Recreation) proposes to hand it over to a private developer in the form of a “LAND SWAP”.
City Councilman Chris Herndon appears to be facilitating this swap.

Instead of a public park, residents would get a cement plaza embedded in a big mixed use development across the street from the land in question……. in exchange for this city owned property.

This is the same big private development that Councilman Chris Herndon was asked to keep secret from his constituents, by the developer, until the land acquisition was complete. And Councilman Herndon did just that. Now, is he in favor of donating our precious park land to the same developer AT A LOSS TO THE CITY?

The private developer would maintain the “park” and provide “security”. We understand that the developer would also have first right on utilization of the “park”.

Does this sound like a public park to you? Would all neighbors be welcome in this upscale development with restaurants and retail? Could you have a barbeque or a family reunion in this “park”?

DOES THIS SOUND FISHY TO YOU?

ACTION: Greater Park Hill Community will discuss this proposal at their meeting tonight:
Thursday, September 7
6:30 PM
Greater Park Hill Community Center,
2823 Fairfax St. 880207
Park Hill Community neighbors and the City of Denver Dept of Parks and Recreation ( Scott Gilmore) will be giving presentations.
We need your voice.

The $64 question. Will Denver City Councilman Chris Herndon attend?
Stay tuned.

QUASI PUBLIC, PARK HILL GOLF COURSE TO CLOSE SOON. INC WANTS CITY TO ACQUIRE IT FOR PUBLIC PARK LAND. ARE MURKY BACKROOM DEALS GOING ON OUT OF PUBLIC VIEW?

 

READ MORE: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3tj3PB9uPWZdEsxQWtqbzJtNm8/view?usp=sharing

ACTION: PLEASE COME , MEET FRIENDS , HAVE FUN PARK HILL STREET FAIR Come to: CITY PARK FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS TABLE ( LOOK FOR THE 1971 VW CAMPER POP TOP)

Sunday, September 10
11:00 – 5PM
FOREST AVE. PARKWAY
MORE DETAILS: http://www.parkhillhometour.org/street-fair/


Denver Parks seem to be under attack from our own Department of Parks and Recreation, Denver City Council and the Mayor.
The people literally have no voice or vote in the destiny of our parks.
The Director of Denver Parks and Recreation, Happy Haynes, a political appointee who serves at the pleasure of Mayor Michael Hancock ,ALONE, now decides what is a park use.
Huge Music Festivals, drainage projects, incinerators, a Starbucks or a MacDonalds … Happy can rule that they are all park uses.

You don’t get to vote on it and neither does your City Council Representative. Denver’s 2010 Zoning Law overhaul gave the Mayor complete control over the destiny of Denver’s parks.

Were you snoozing when that law passed?

We need to be alert and let our voices be heard… loud and clear.
Citizens of Denver want to have a voice in their own destiny and have a say in what happens to our public lands before they aren’t public anymore.

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Save City Park, Sign Our Petition

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.

Read more on our issues page.

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Four Days In Court, A Recollection

 By: Christine O’Connor
The following article is based on recollection and not on court transcripts
 

Overview:

During the four day J. D. MacFarlane vs. City & County of Denver trial, the City continued to dig itself deeper and deeper into a hole. What came through loud and clear —and which will persist regardless of the final opinion in the case — is that the City looked very foolish for pushing forward with a $45 Million “golf course redesign project” on the most urban and most treasured golf course in Denver in order to support its obligations to CDOT.

Here is a concise timeline of how this project evolved for NEW Ditch the Ditch members or others needing a primer. Ratepayers need to see how this project has been waved in front of us over past two years.

  • Summer 2015: In presenting the IGA between Denver and CDOT to Council, the project was titled the “CDOT/CCD I-70 PCL COMBINED DRAINAGE SYSTEM Proposed 100-Year Protection Montclair and Park Hill Basins.” Attachment A to IGA.
  • Late 2015 – April 2016: The North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative (the Mayor’s umbrella for six projects related to the Corridor of Opportunity) began to market this as FLOOD PROTECTION FOR THE PARK HILL AND MONTCLAIR BASINS. They named it the Platte to Park Hill project. (When we pointed out this was beyond the scope of the NDCC, the NDCC logo was dropped and Public Works logo inserted.)
  • April 6 , 2017: The City held “joint” press conference with Parks and Public Works re INTEGRATING STORM WATER PROTECTION INTO CITY PARK GOLF COURSE. They had presented a Hobbesian choice of “55 homes in Cole” vs. City Park Golf Course to make it look as though it was an equity issue. Turns out there were several industrial sites near 40th & York also on list of options.
  • June 13-14, 2016: Presented as a CITYWIDE DRAINAGE FIX at the Council meeting that approved the massive hike in Wastewater Fees. (Note Aaron Goldhamer filed J. D. MacFarlane’s lawsuit June 13, 2016.)
  • Summer 2016: Complete change of course (pun intended) and project became known as GOLF COURSE REDESIGN PROJECT. (Wonder how much did the City pay GBSM to reframe this?). DPR Director Happy Haynes seen frequently at redesign meetings to show Parks buy in.
  • Aug. 14, 2017: Another flip-flop. The $45M Golf Course Contract was presented to City Council as a FLOOD PROTECTION PROJECT again. Public Works is the City agency signing the Golf Course Contract, and the City framed it as a vote on a flood protection project not a golf course project. Remember by using the enterprise fund the City avoided Tabor and didn’t need to send this huge Capital Construction Project to the voters, but the fund needs to be run like a business and what it spends $ on needs to be related to the city’s sanitary sewer and storm drainage system. Tricky, no? Thanks to Council Members Ortega, Espinoza and Kashmann for opposing the contract, and speaking out about this once again. Councilman Kashmann even read parts of the IGA so that his fellow Council members could see the I70 connection!!

Day 1:

“The J.D. MacFarlane vs. City & County of Denver (City Park Golf Course) trial got off to a great start yesterday with strong opening remarks by our lead counsel Aaron Goldhamer. Jon Murray’s covered those Opening Statements here.

 http://www.denverpost.com/2017/08/21/city-park-golf-course-lawsuit-trial-begins/

A big THANK YOU to all of you who came down bright and early, and some of you who stayed for the entire day!!! Aaron opened by saying: “This case is about what the Denver charter gives the people — and about what the city is trying to take away from the people in violation of the charter.”

Four of the eight plaintiffs led off the Plaintiffs’ testimony, and an arborist who talked about the potential harm to City Park Golf Course’s soil and trees to trees not only because 262 trees will be destroyed in pursuit of this project, and not only because the City plans only to replace 42% of that canopy on the course, but about the potential unknown damage of cut and fill throughout the entire course. (The City will use its Tree Canopy program to “make up” the rest of the loss elsewhere.)

Two representatives of the City were asked at length about the evolution of this decision and its connection to I70, and it was clearly established that this project arose not out of Parks & Recreation Planning, but Public Works’ needs associated with the Platte to Park Hill project, which as readers well know, was designed in conjunction with the Intergovernmental Agreement with CDOT.

Plaintiffs’ Attorney Tony Vaida then brought Dennis Royer to the stand to give his opinion on whether the Stormwater Project at CPGC was found in the City’s Storm Drainage Master Plan.. Mr. Royer worked for the City for years, including as Deputy Manager of Public Works for Operations, the department that signed off on the 2005 Stormwater Master Plan. He testified that the Project is not in accordance with the 2014 Stormwater Master Plan and not in accordance with the process for amending Stormwater Master Plans, so in his opinion that the project could not be for the purpose of solving a CPGC stormwater problem or even a Montclair Basis stormwater problem.

Day 2

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Aaron Goldhamer and Tony Vaida continued to present the Plaintiffs’ case Tuesday in Judge David Goldberg’s Courtroom. Tuesday’s first witness — put on the stand as part of the Plaintiffs’ case — was Director of Parks & Recreation Happy Haynes, and she was asked numerous tough questions about her knowledge of parks’ policies such as the 2001 City Park Master Plan which recommends Preservation for all of City Park, including the City Park Golf Course. This 2001 City Park Master Plan covers ALL of City Park, including the Golf Course.

Aaron Goldhamer spent considerable time asking Ms. Haynes about the purpose of the proposed Stormwater Project, about Park Purpose in general, about negative impacts of the project, and whether she knew of any Denver park that had been closed in its entirety for a considerable length of time to install a regional storm water detention facility. He also pressed her as to why she did not allow the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board hold a vote on the Platte to Park Hill project.

Ms. Haynes agreed that helping CDOT with its highway construction support is not a park purpose. Additionally, Ms. Haynes opined about replacing the “lost” trees with the City’s tree canopy program which can replace “lost” trees (did you know all the trees chopped down in one fell swoop will be considered a “loss”?) with new trees at parks around the ‘hood. She believes replacing only 42% of the canopy at the course itself is a “robust” replanting of trees.

Councilwoman Ortega testified briefly about the evolution of this drainage project to $298Million, that the rate increase was an unusual size, her concerns with passing an IGA without dealing with protection of Globeville at the same time, and the fact that the IGA directly ties I70 together with the Platte to Park Hill Project. Bruce Uhernik, an engineer with public works testified about the 2014 Storm Drainage Master Plan, admitting that Platte to Park Hill was not included in that last-approved storm drainage plan. He also seemed to disagree with certain policies in the SDMP pointed out by Aaron Goldhamer, indicating these policies in that plan work in some conditions but not for the Montclair and Park Hill Basins. The gist of his testimony was that the City wanted to put detention in CPGC because this was a “natural” location of this digitalized buried creek that was just found, although the City would then turn all the stormwater flow AWAY from this creed to flow directly west at 39th because that is where the existing pipes are located and can be tripled in capacity.

Chris Proud, who was Happy Haynes’ right-hand man providing her with the information about the project as it progressed, also testified at length about his emails to the “team.” Aaron Goldhamer questioned him about these emails, in which he expressed numerous concerns with the project. Mr. Proud tried to downplay these quite serious concerns expressed by him in emails, saying at trial that “at the time” the City really didn’t have an understanding about what the impacts of taking City Park Golf Course might be, and he wanted the team to take these into consideration.

Adrian Brown, a professional engineer with decades of experience, (many of you are familiar with his description of the risk involved in the Globeville Landing Outfall portion of this drainage project) took the stand as an expert witness, and testified that the proposed stormwater project at City Park Golf Course did not serve any storm related park improvement purpose in the City Park Golf Course and that there was no need for this additional engineered detention at CPGC but for the lowering of I70 pursuant to its expansion plans.

At that point the City Attorney asked the Court to issue a “Directed Verdict” in favor of the City. In other words, the City was arguing that based on what had been presented, there was not enough for the trial to move forward, and the trial should be ended. The Judge laid out the law about issuing Directed Verdicts, and then issued a finding that Plaintiffs had presented enough evidence to establish a “prima facie” case and that the trial would continue.

Day 3

On Day 3, the City began to present its case. The City began with Public Works project manager Bruce Uhernik who presented the story of flooding in the Montclair/Park Hill basins, that Montclair is the “worst” basin in the City, a video of a car floating down the street, tons of maps. The Judge indicated he was interested in hearing about Parks in which Public Works had taken a role in projects, and spent a great deal of time asking Bruce about drainage projects throughout the City.

Next up was Scott Rethlake, the Director of Golf, who talked about the history of the golf course, the Request for Proposal, trees, etc. Aaron Goldhamer asked whether the Golf Enterprise Fund is paying for this project, as Scott had just related that the Golf Enterprise Fund was “self-sufficient.” Rethlake said that in this case, he believe the Wastewater Enterprise Fund dollars could be used to cover all things that needed to be replaced to take care of the drainage. (This is tricky territory. On the one hand the City is calling it the project an “improvement” to the Golf Course (improvements should be covered by the Golf Enterprise Fund ) and the next minute they are calling it a stormwater project (Wastewater Enterprise Funds’ expenditures should not include these costly upgrades to an entire golf course).

Parks Director Happy Haynes was next, and she was on the stand for perhaps three hours so this is difficult to summarize. (I welcome more astute soundbites…) Her qualifications alone took a half hour, as Ms. Haynes has been involved in politics and non-profits for decades, although Mayor Hancock just installed her as Manager of Parks & Rec in the fall of 2015, at precisely the time the Platte to Park Hill project began to be marketed to the neighborhoods. Some of the things she covered: “green” infrastructure, the need to increase amount of natural open space, what park purpose means to her, her list of storm water “detention” in parks throughout the city, and her personal history with City Park Golf Course. (Ms. Haynes grew up a block away from the Golf Course, admitted to cutting through it on the way to school, took up golf & said she considers it “her course.” I can only imagine how painful it must be for her to advocate for this project.)

She described AT LENGTH her involvement in the process of designing the new course (AFTER decision to use CPGC and AFTER lawsuit filed), so beginning in summer 2016. She described her involvement sitting in on the technical Public Works meetings as the Request for Proposal was put together, again in 2016. She skillfully avoided saying exactly how involved she was on the “Executive Oversight Team” that made the actual decision to place detention at CPGC.

Ms. Haynes stated that closing parks for extended periods of time was something that Parks does regularly, and mentioned numerous parks that have been either created or improved as part of an effort along the South Platte called River Vision (Urban Drainage/Greenway Foundation/Denver) which is addressing major floodplain issues and greatly adding to parks viability along the edges of the River. This is a great project involving South Platte restoration work and we can thank Greenway Foundation for spearheading. It encompasses the work done at Confluence Park as well as at the Weir Gulch, Grant-Frontier, Pasquinell’s Landing etc., all wonderful River projects undertaken with years of planning for the South Platte. The exact parallels to closing CPGC not drawn.

Happy went on to talk about parks without trees such as Civic Center Pavilion and Skateboard Park, and that we don’t need trees to have “a park.” Several times she referred to a non-dated, non-labelled list showing has 500 acres of Stormwater Detention Facilities in Parks, as if this in and of itself provided grounds for adding detention to CPGC. (I pointed out on Friday that out of the 500 acres listed, over 350 acres was comprised of lakes such as the 170 acre Sloan’s Lake, Berkeley Lake, Huston Lake etc.) The goal seemed to be to lump all lakes and parks and gulches and detention ponds that hold or carry water into this one list as support of blanket discretion on the part of Happy Haynes to close ANY park for ANY project, for any stated reason, for ANY length of time. It was an extensive well-rehearsed briefing to convince the Court that what the City proposes for CPGC is business as usual.

 

Day 4

Time to recount what must have been the most embarrassing moment for the City in the four day trial. I am going to skip ahead to the afternoon testimony because it really was a complete shock. Denver called Adrian Benepe of the Trust for the Public Lands (TPL) as an expert yesterday to testify on the City Park Golf Course proposal.

I want readers to hold on to their hats. I want to take great pains to acknowledge up front that many of us hold the Trust for the Public Lands (TPL) in high regard for its work to “keep public lands in public hands.” TPL’s site says “Our public lands should be saved, not sold.”

Adrian Benepe — who served for years as New York City parks commissioner — is a senior VP and Director of city park development for TPL. It quickly became clear in his testimony that he knew very little about the project itself, and had done no homework to prepare to testify as an expert except talk to various Denver officials and staffers whom he could not name. I say “could not name” because he said he couldn’t recall any names. Note that Denver Parks & Recreation Director Happy Haynes chairs the Colorado Advisory Board of the Trust for Public Land.

Mr. Benepe had not read the RFP (Request for Proposal) issued by the City on the CPGC project. He had not read the City Park Master Plan (which calls for PRESERVATION), so Aaron Goldhamer could not even inquire if he thought the project was consistent with the Master Plan.

When Aaron Goldhamer commended him on his Olmsted medal (Frederick Law Olmsted known as father of modern landscape architecture), and asked him if he knew if City Park was designed as part of Olmsted’s efforts, he did not know. He did not know if CPGC was on the National Register of Historic Places. He did not know the acreage of the area of the golf course to be used for detention. He took awhile to answer a question about the typography of the golf course. He said he was unaware of ANY problems that currently exist at City Park Golf Course! (This is part of plaintiffs’ case.) He was “not sure” and “not aware” of many details, and kept coming back to his general extensive experience informing his testimony.

I hope others will jump in here because I can’t recall all the faux pas of his testimony. It certainly was an “ah hah” moment for people in attendance, hearing Mr. Benepe talk about his experience in “green infrastructure,” drop anecdotes about the Nederlands’ attempt to use public space (below sea level) to design “storm capture,” and numerous other examples not comparable or applicable to CPGC.

Most uncomfortable for me was the moment Mr. Benepe stated that it would be “civic malpractice” for Denver to not use CPGC for this project. The implication made many times is that there are no limits to the Director of Parks & Recreation in using its parks for any and every conceivable use. He knew nothing about the 2014 Storm Drainage Plan, knew nothing about I70, knew nothing about how much soil testing had been done on existing 138 acres of golf course. Most of the courtroom sat in shock as he admitted having no knowledge of the RFP or the 2001 City Park Master Plan that covers City Park Golf Course.

 

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UPDATE:TRIAL TO SAVE CPGC FROM DESTRUCTION DAY#2

Another big thanks to the crowd (somewhat smaller, could use some new faces Wednesday or Thursday!) who sat for parts of the J.D. MacFarlane vs. City & County of Denver trial today!  We will start Wednesday at 9 am, 1437 Bannock, Courtroom 269.

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Aaron Goldhamer and Tony Vaida continued to present the Plaintiffs’ case Tuesday in Judge David Goldberg’s Courtroom.   Tuesday’s first witness  — put on the stand as part of the Plaintiffs’ case — was Director of Parks & Recreation Happy Haynes, and she was asked numerous tough questions about her knowledge of parks’ policies such as the 2001 City Park Master Plan which recommends Preservation for all of City Park, including the City Park Golf Course.  Aaron Goldhamer spent considerable time asking Ms. Haynes about the purpose of the proposed Stormwater Project, about Park Purpose in general, about negative impacts of the project, and whether she knew of any Denver park that had been closed in its entirety for a considerable length of time to install a regional storm water detention facility. He also pressed her as to why she did not allow the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board hold a vote on the Platte to Park Hill project.  This editor is not 100% sure, but believes Ms. Haynes did agree that helping CDOT with its highway construction support is not a park purpose.  Additionally, Ms. Haynes opined about replacing the “lost” trees with the City’s tree canopy program which can replace “lost” trees (did you know all the trees chopped down in one fell swoop will be considered a “loss”?)  with new trees at parks around the ‘hood.  She believes replacing only 42% of the canopy at the course itself is a “robust” replanting of trees.

Councilwoman Ortega testified briefly about the evolution of this drainage project to $298Million, that the rate increase was an unusual size, her concerns with passing an IGA without dealing with protection of Globeville at the same time, and the fact that the IGA directly ties I70 together with the Platte to Park Hill Project.  Bruce Uhernik, an engineer with public works testified about the 2014 Storm Drainage Master Plan, admitting that Platte to Park Hill was not included in that last-approved storm drainage plan, but stating that parts of the statements in that plan are really not correct because they work in some conditions but not for the Montclair and Park Hill Basins.  Chris Proud, who was Happy’s right-hand man to provide her with information about the project, also testified at length about his emails to the “team” his expressing concerns, saying that “at the time” the City really didn’t have an understanding about what the impacts of taking City Park Golf Course might be, and he wanted the team to take these into consideration.

Lastly, we heard from two of Plaintiffs’ experts, including Adrian Brown, the engineer many of you have seen in videos explaining the risk of Globeville Landing Outfall project.  Attorney Tony Vaida led Adrian through his testimony, the Plaintiffs “rested” their case. That means Plaintiffs were finished presenting.

At that point the City Attorney asked the Court to issue a Directed Verdict in favor of the City.  In other words, the City argued that based on what had been presented, there was not enough for the trial to move forward, and the trial should be ended  The Judge laid out the law about issuing Directed Verdicts, and then issued a finding that Plaintiffs had presented enough evidence to establish a “prima facie” case and that the trial would continue.

The next two days belong to the defendants to put on their witnesses.  They will put Bruce Uhernik and Happy Haynes on again tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone for the great support. Hope to see a few of you for part of the day tomorrow.  Even if you can only drop in for an hour, it is appreciated.

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Denver City Park Golf Course Delay Discussion and Vote

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Tree Hugger In Chief

And I can tell you about my drive every day from the urban heat island we know as downtown Denver, on my way home, as soon as I hit City Park, the thermometer on my car measuring the outside temperature, goes down 5 degrees.

So I know from my own research and from my personal experience that we couldn’t survive and we couldn’t thrive in our city without the wonderful influence of the trees.

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Please Write Your Council Person, Subject Line: Council Bill 17-0823, 17-0824, 17-1826

 

This Monday, Aug 7, 2017 Council members will vote to enter into a contract for the excavation of City Park Golf Course.  The legal challenge is set for trial August 21. Please copy the below addresses, the letter and email  to our Council members and urge them to respect the judicial and public process.

Copy and paste these addresses for 13 members of City Council.

Albus.Brooks@denvergov.org, kniechatlarge@denvergov.org, ortegaatlarge@denvergov.org, MaryBeth.Susman@denvergov.org, paul.kashmann@denvergov.org, Paul.Lopez@denvergov.org, kevin.flynn@denvergov.org, kendra.black@denvergov.org, wayne.new@denvergov.org, stacie.gilmore@denvergov.org, jolon.clark@denvergov.org, Christopher.herndon@denvergov.org, rafael.espinoza@denvergov.org,

Subject Line: Council Bill 17-0823, 17-0824, 17-1826

To Denver City Council:

I am a Denver resident writing to urge you to vote NO on Council Bills approving construction contracts with Saunders Construction and Parsons Transportation Group for work related to City Park Golf Course and other portions of the Platte to Park Hill drainage project.

J.D. MacFarlane’s legal challenge to the city’s plan to take City Park Golf Course for drainage is set for trial Aug. 21, 2017. Therefore, I believe it is premature to approve bills related to City Park Golf Course excavation on Monday Aug. 7, 2017.

I am disturbed by Mayor Hancock’s decision to bring these bills to you before the resolution of the MacFarlane lawsuit. Furthermore, a symbolic one week delay of your vote is insufficient. Information about the contract terms, costs, and schedule is not the issue for me, but rather the Hancock Administration’s disregard for both judicial and public processes.

I urge you to vote NO on Council Bills 17-0823, 17-0824, and 17-1826 and instruct the City to wait for the court’s decision.

Thank you.

______________ (name)
_______________(address)

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Press Release July 31, 2017

City Park Friends and Neighbors 
LaMone Noles, President

 

For Immediate Release

July 31, 2017

CPFAN issues response to Mayor Hancock’s plan to appear at the Denver Press Club’s celebration of its placement on the National Register of Historic Places

City Park Friends and Neighbors (CPFAN) applauds Mayor Hancock for honoring the Denver Press Club upon its placement on the U.S. National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places with a plaque and celebration on August 2, 2017.  The National Register exists to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.  Listing the Denver Press Club on the National Register implies a commitment by the city to honor the national significance for which it has been recognized and to insure that it continues to be preserved intact for future generations by following National Park Service preservation standards and guidelines.  

City Park Golf Course has also been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1986, at which time the City and County of Denver made a commitment to preserve and protect its natural and historic resource values, just as it does today for the Denver Press Club. City Park Golf Course, a 104 year old treasure of our city, was recognized on the National Register for its 1913 design by the best landscape architects of their time, the Olmsted Brothers and Tom Bendelow.  It deserves the same attention, care and respect as the Denver Press Club.

What does it say about our city and the value of its commitments when in one breath our mayor can pledge long term stewardship of the Denver Press Club building and in the next  sacrifice City Park Golf Course to redevelopment for drainage?  City Park Friends and Neighbors believe Denver can do better and we urge the Hancock Administration to meet the commitment it made to preserve and protect City Park Golf Course.

 

LaMone Noles

President
City Park Friends and Neighbors

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Denver assembles City Park Golf Course redesign team

By Joseph Rios

The Denverite June 26, 2016

The city of Denver is pushing hard for controversial renovations to Denver’s City Park Golf Course. This week the team who will be responsible for the redesign and construction of the course presented to City Council members their vision of what the golf course could become.

Contracts with Parsons transportation group, Flatiron Construction Inc. and Saunders Construction for design and construction of the City Park Golf Course improvement project were all advanced Tuesday by Land Use, Transportation & Infrastructure Committee members, despite two outstanding lawsuits related to the project.

Meet the team responsible for the City Park Golf Course:

The City Park Golf Course redesign team’s lineup includes the city and county of Denver, Saunders Construction with Aspen Corporation, clubhouse architect Johnson Nathan Strohe and golf course architect and designer iConGolf Studio. While iConGolf Studio designs the course it will receive advice from champion golfer Hale Irwin.

Irwin is known for leaving a legacy on the PGA Tour. He won three U.S. Open titles and the 1979 World Cup Championship. Todd Schoeder, chief design officer of iConGolf Studio, expressed his excitement to collaborate with Irwin.

“He is going to be very engaged throughout the process. He will be engaged in the layout, the strategy of the golf course, the feature construction, what it is going to look like, how it is going to play,” Schoeder said.

“I bring a vision of what (the average) player, I think, enjoys,” Irwin said. “Whether that be a public player, private player, it doesn’t matter. You still have to grab a golf club and hit the golf ball.”

iCon Golf Studio has worked with Irwin’s Hale Irwin Golf Design before. The two companies have completed and renovated golf courses in Washington, Maryland and other places.

What will City Park Golf Course look like?

Denver has four things it wants to accomplish with a redesign of City Park Golf Course: to build a stormwater detention system that blends and integrates into the design of the course, to remain sensitive to historical character of the property, to serve the entire community and surrounding neighborhood and to build a high quality Parkland style golf course for all skill levels.

The most important new feature — and the most controversial — is the stormwater detention.

“We know that while on the surface this is a drainage project, it is much more than that. It is about preserving the legacy of City Park and making sure that that legacy continues on after the project is done. When we’re done, no one will know it’s a drainage project,” said Leslie Fangman from Saunders Construction.

Denver officials said City Park Golf Course will include facilities for the First Tee youth golf program, extra course yardage, an 18-hole Parkland style course with par 71 and a new, relocated club house.

The clubhouse will feature rooms for community meetings, and the city wants to make it a community asset. It will also come with a distinct view of the skyline.

“There is no backdrop like that anywhere, and our challenge will be to make that golf course equally beautiful,” Irwin said.

This, of course, has seen backlash from people in Denver.

CDOT is moving forward with plans to expand and sink I-70, a project that has been some 14 years in the making. However, the highway will be in the way of water that is trying to reach the South Platte River. Therefore, the city and CDOT have to do something about the water.

Denver says the flood control project meets longstanding city needs, and it just made sense to do a project that would also meet CDOT’s needs. One lawsuit, set to go to trial in August, alleges detention is an improper use of parkland under the city charter, while a more recent federal lawsuit claims that the flood control project did not get proper consideration in the environmental impact statement for the highway project.

Councilman Rafael Espinoza has been vocal about his concerns about the project.

“This is a colossal misuse of hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer’s money that could be addressing a whole bunch of stormwater needs citywide,” Espinoza said in an interview. “While I think there is a nice and beautiful and more playable way of doing what we’re doing today, yes, I don’t object to the concept.”

That is, using the golf course for detention might be OK — just not like this.

“I do object to the way we’re using city funds and creating projects that aren’t necessary and building projects that aren’t necessary for this city, but are necessary for the interstate and confusing the two,” Espinoza said.

There are also questions as to whether the City Park Golf Course renovations will even see the light of day with multiple lawsuits against the project. Espinoza questioned how much the design process is costing the city for a project that could be halted by the court.

Attorneys for the city said that they are confident the project will be approved by the court.

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