Category Archives: PAST FEATURED POSTS

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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Birding for science: Denver Field Ornithologists is leading a citizen-science initiative in the heart of the city

By Colleen Smith, Special to The Denver Post

In City Park, on man-made islands in man-made lakes, tall, old trees offer refuge to large colonies of wading birds. The park provides breeding habitat for approximately 100 black-crowned night herons, roughly 300 double-crested cormorants and several species of milk-white egrets, ethereal as angels.

The bird enthusiasts of Denver Field Ornithologists (DFO) hope to focus their 400-plus members’ binoculars on the breeding, nesting and fledging habits of these birds — not just for the joy of birding, but to collect data for their recently launched citizen-science initiative, the Colonial Waterbirds Nesting Project.

The nesting project is one of two citizen-science initiatives at DFO. The second involves data collection that will contribute to the work of Denver Museum of Nature & Science Curator of Ornithology Garth Spellman, who is mapping the occurrence of eastern and Rocky Mountain forms of warbling vireos and white-breasted nuthatches.

“Since we have a quasi-home at the (Denver Museum of Nature & Science), we think it’s worth monitoring the backyard birds here,” said DFO president Chuck Hundertmark.

Hundertmark recently led one of DFO’s field trips to observe City Park’s colony of night herons on the island in Ferril Lake, due east of the boathouse pavilion. Dozens of the sharp-beaked, ruby-eyed birds stoically sat on nests, incubating eggs. Some cruised in and out with nest-building sticks. Others engaged in territorial behavior or courtship dances.

On the island in nearby Duck Lake, approximately 200 nests crowded trees, and cormorants raised a cacophony. Hundertmark, using his spotting scope, pointed out the double crests that resemble feathery horns, visible only during breeding season.

Cormorants have nested in City Park for 80 or 90 years, said DFO member Pat O’Driscoll in an email. “Somebody once relocated half a dozen fledglings there from the big colony that still exists at Barr Lake,” O’Driscoll said.

The DFO database will chart dynamics of the waterbird colonies and the condition of the sites.

 “If the sites begin to fail, we want to follow the birds, faithful returnees year after year, as they relocate to other sites or even start new colonies elsewhere. We also want to document the timing of the nest cycle to see if there is a response to climate change,” O’Driscoll said.
The birding club is recruiting citizen-scientists to help compile data on colonial waterbirds in Washington Park, Belmar Park in Lakewood, the Wheat Ridge Greenbelt, as well as City Park.“In the case of City Park’s Duck Lake, it’s a minor miracle that its tall trees — nearly dead now, possibly from decades of cormorant guano — are still standing under hundreds of three-foot birds and their big nests of sticks,” O’Driscoll said.DFO and other citizen-scientists can use an app called eBird to compile field notes for the waterbird study, Hundertmark said. “There’s no fee or registration, and you don’t need to belong to DFO to help. This is how DFO can harness the collective power of observation and eBird for vital citizen-science. It’s fun and interesting and will enhance knowledge and appreciation of birds.”When people share lists on eBird, “they’ll just type in ‘DFO waterbirds,’ ” O’Driscoll said. At the end of the season, DFO will compile a report on the first year’s worth of data. “We’re piggybacking on the ability of using eBird’s way of compiling and organizing data. It’s just a lot easier than if we sent people out with clipboards.”

Birds of a feather

Birders possess keen powers of observation and curiosity inspired by the natural world. A new DFO board member and the newsletter editor, Sharon Tinianow said, “You’re out in nature. People who know birds usually know wildflowers and trees, mammals, reptiles.”

Tinianow’s favorite birds are chickadees. “They’re acrobatic little critters, such charming birds.”

At her Denver home, Tinianow maintains three birdfeeders and a suet hanger. She noted that birding is an audio-visual activity. “Birding by ear, you don’t have to spot the bird to identify it.”

On the field trip, Hundertmark heard a chipping sparrow, traced the song to a tree and deftly centered the bird in his scope. Birders also heard the avian operas of house finches, calls of northern flickers, trills of red-winged blackbirds.

Hundertmark has almost 800 species on his Life List.

Birds of a feather, as we know, flock together. And birds bring humans together, too. The DFO flock includes 470 members. And wherever birders congregate, other people gather like hummingbirds to nectar. With their command of flight and mysterious migration abilities, birds captivate the imagination.

“Every time I’m out birding, somebody comes up to ask a bird question,” Hundertmark said.

As if on cue, a woman walking her dog stopped to inquire about the large white birds. She mentioned the bald eagle she saw. Later, a rangy man wearing a black cowboy hat wandered over to inquire about the cormorants.

Isaac Ho, a retired chemical engineer and DFO member, focuses more on photography than his Life List. For Ho, bird-watching was a family interest shared with his wife and children.

“By watching birds, you gain a lot of interesting experiences. If you have an awareness of behavior, you can realize there is a lot of humanity in wildlife,” he said. “Nature deserves our respect.”

Ho’s favorite birds are raptors. “I like to photograph them in flight or action,” he said. “Springtime is a perfect time to watch birds.”

The City Park field trip also yielded sightings of mallard and blue-winged teal ducks, violet-green swallows and barn swallows, ring-billed gulls and black-billed magpies, American robins and Canada geese—including goslings yellow and fuzzy as spring pollen.

For fledgling birders, Hundertmark suggested picking up a field guide.

“Get a good bird book and learn how to use it,” he said.

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News About Other Parks

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Take a 1 minute action now.

Click here to sign the petition to save Overland Golf Course and get more information.
Click here to read neighborhood group’s report.



By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4)– Despite more opposition than support, the City of Denver is moving forward with plans for a massive music festival at the historic Overland Park Golf Course.

The city is now working on a multi-year contract with the promoter Superfly, which has put on similar events in San Francisco and Tennessee, for a festival that would bring crowds between 30,000 to 60,000 people per day.

Since public meeting started earlier this year, city officials have said if the nearby neighborhoods didn’t support the festival then it wouldn’t happen.

“What I really feel is betrayed I feel utterly betrayed, by the city, by my councilperson and by my neighborhood association,” said Helene Orr, who lives across the street from the golf course. “First of all it’s a golf course not a concert venue there’s absolutely no infrastructure to support it, there’s no parking there’s no nothing.”

Orr spent the past few months gathering nearly 500 signatures opposed to the project.

The Parks Department released statistics associated with an online survey and other public engagement.

Orr spent the past few months gathering nearly 500 signatures opposed to the project.

The Parks Department released statistics associated with an online survey and other public engagement.

The community process highlighted the values, interests and concerns of a diverse community,” said Happy Haynes, Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation in a statement. “In the next stage of the process, our commitment is to fulfill the guidelines we set forth during the community input process. We are confident that we can reach an agreement that accomplishes that goal. We pledge to hold the event organizers accountable to protecting that which is valuable to our city, its residents and neighborhoods.”

“It was kind of a done deal from the get go and in fact they weren’t ever really interested in getting neighborhood approval. In my view it’s really been a process of manufacturing consent it’s not about building consensus or finding out if people really, really want it,” Orr said.

There’s no timeline for completing the contract but it’s expected to be finalized in the summer or fall and then head to the city council for final approval.








Park Hill Golf Course

The Clayton Trust owns Park Hill Golf Course. They make an income of $700,000 a year from a soon to expire lease with a golf management company. The lease will not be renewed. The Trust is wondering what to do with the land.  Inter Neighborhood Cooperative (INC) thinks that Denver should buy it and use it for a park and passed a resolution at their last Delegate meeting to urge the City to purchase it with GO Bonds. Go Here to see the resolution.  It is invaluable open land that could be preserved for future generations.
You might want to weigh in with an email to  Happy Haynes , director of Denver Parks and Recreation.

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City of Denver shifting toward natural playgrounds

Playground at Pasquinel’s Landing Park should be complete by end of March

Those old playgrounds in some Denver parks might look a lot different in the coming years when they are replaced as the Parks and Recreation department is focusing on nature play options in its parks moving forward.Natural playgrounds, made of recycled trees and boulders, have become a popular option over traditional playgrounds with slides, monkey bars and swings, and Denver Parks and Recreation has multiple natural playground projects planned.

“Studies show that when kids go to a traditional playground, they get bored quickly, whereas with nature play done well, kids stay longer and come back more frequently,” said Gordon Robertson, director of park planning for Denver Parks and Recreation.


The first nature playground is under construction at Pasquinel’s Landing Park, 801 W. Evans Ave., and should be complete by the end of March. Two other projects are planned at Westwood Park and First Creek near Green Valley Ranch and Denver International Airport. Both are set to break ground this year.
The projects are designed by Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, a Canadian company that has built natural play areas worldwide since the 1980s.

Founder, CEO and principal designer Adam Bienenstock was at Pasquinel’s Landing Park last week, supervising the build of the nature playground, consisting of the wood from trees that came from city parks and one from a neighbor’s front yard. The boulders came from Urban Drainage. The trees are secured into place, just above the ground, and mulch will cover the separation between the ground the and log. This will help preserve the wood for a 15-25-year life span.

“The most important part of this is we just want kids to connect to nature in a way that I remember when I was a kid, but we know is missing from most of their lives now,” Bienenstock said. “It turns out that playgrounds, where their parents will take them, are one of the few places where they can have this experience.”




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