Today, the Denver Post published an update on the controversial sale and planned development of the Park Hill Golf Course land. In addition, this letter has been sent to all the current city council members:
With the private sale of 155 acres of open space in the park desert of Northeast Park Hill, it is heartening to have former Mayor Wellington Webb call for the city council to protect the $2 million perpetual open space conservation easement currently in place. His visionary 1997 agreement with Clayton Trust to forfeit its development rights in exchange for cash and a property tax abatement for the last 20 years was a wise use of taxpayer funds and should remain as his everlasting legacy for generations to come. Only you and your fellow council members have the power to fulfill his request.
As a recent Denver Post editorial put it: “… our elected officials must not lose track of the ultimate goal — to vastly increase open space by acquiring one of the last remaining parcels of land available for such an endeavor.”
The speculative purchase by a local developer may fulfill the Clayton Trust’s long term desire for financial stability. However that does not obligate the city to make the false choice of sacrificing virgin open space to the detriment of development. Nor is “splitting the baby” desirable, which would require cancellation of the conservation easement, leaving any remaining undeveloped land vulnerable. There are multiple dilapidated industrial properties near this land, unloved and ignored, that are ripe for redevelopment instead.
Please remember these words from the Denver Post: “Webb said he supports the goal of affordable housing, but thinks it is a ‘trick to garner support’ for developing this open space. Housing can be built on other large sites, but open space can never be recovered, he argued.”
We, the members of Save Open Space Denver, hope you will consider the lasting impact of losing irreplaceable open space and vote to preserve the conservation easement.