Initially, the city planned to purchase the entire Park Hill course for more than $20 million from Clayton Early Learning, the nonprofit that controls the land. The possibilities included developing part of the land for affordable housing. That hasn’t worked out.
Instead, the city is now moving to forcibly buy the right to use part of the land, while still keeping the golf course possible to operate. But the question of whether or not the land really would stay as open space was a central concern on Tuesday night.
Espinoza said he worried that the deal was set up in a way that could let Clayton out of the long-standing agreement that prevents development on the land, and he called for the council to take a closer look.
Prosser joined CU-Boulder’s architecture school in 1966 and moved to Denver when the program relocated here a few years later, as Patricia Calhoun reported for Westword.
Early in his career in Denver, Prosser authored a proposal to save parts of the Auraria neighborhood from redevelopment, including the Tivoli brewery, which “helped give Auraria much of the character it retains today,” Calhoun wrote.
Prosser saw Denver’s modern rebuilding coming, too. “Believe me, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Colorado doesn’t know what density is,” he told The Denver Post in 2001. And he warned that the city wasn’t intellectually ready for that change.
Monday, October 16, 2017, various citizen-plaintiffs offered a flurry of filings in two cases related to the project. In a federal case asserting the Colorado Department of Transportation (“CDOT”) and the Federal Highway Administration’s (“FHWA”) failure to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, a plaintiff group led by developer Kyle Zeppelin responded to CDOT and FHWA’s motion to dismiss their case, offering sworn statements of two sitting Denver City Council members to rebut a statement offered by City Engineer Lesley Thomas that Denver will proceed with its controversial “Platte to Park Hill” drainage project—which the plaintiffs assert is directly tied to the I-70 expansion—even if CDOT is enjoined from paying the $60 million it has committed to contributing to that project.
THE PROPOSED CONTRACT ALLOCATES NO VALUE TO DENVER’S DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS, AND INSTEAD SIMPLY GIVES AWAY THIS VALUABLE PROPERTY INTEREST OWNED BY THE TAXPAYERS OF DENVER.
The amount of value being given away is staggering – over $20 million!
The citizens of Denver are entitled to the increase in value of the development rights that have occurred between 1997 and 2017
Following contract negotiations, Denver City Council’s Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will consider the recommended team for a City Council vote. The City, along with the selected team, is anticipated to meet with the community to refine the greenway design in late 2017/early 2018. Pre-construction activities, such as utility relocations, are already underway, with the greenway expected to be completed at the end of 2019. Also included in the contract is funding to integrate a stormwater detention facility in the northeast corner of what is now operating as Park Hill Golf Course.
The plaintiffs expect that their requested injunction will be determined no later than early 2018, before CDOT is scheduled to begin construction. CDOT and the FHWA will have an opportunity to respond to the plaintiffs’ motion, and an injunction hearing is possible. If the injunction is granted, it would bode well for a final determination that CDOT would have to reissue an Environmental Impact Study before proceeding with the I-70 project, as “likelihood of success on the merits” is an important factor in obtaining injunctive relief. Likewise, if the injunction is granted, CDOT may not be able to help pay for the Platte to Park Hill project. If that happens, Goldhamer thinks “the City might scrap their Platte to Park Hill project. After all, they did not have any plan for it in Denver’s 2014 Storm Drainage Master Plan, before CDOT apparently realized they needed to account for more drainage issues and talked Denver into helping them out.”
The city originally acted as the trustee for the assets left behind when George Clayton died in 1899. The golf course previously was agricultural and dairy land, and the government managed it as a city golf course starting in 1932. Until 1982, the city itself owned the golf course land. Then it gave the deed over to the George W. Clayton Trust.
City Council members in the late 1980s considered trying to buy the land back from Clayton. Instead, the city paid Clayton for a promise not to develop the land.
In exchange for $2 million, Clayton agreed in 1997 to a “conservation easement,” which says the land can’t be used for anything but golf and related activities.