DENVER — Add Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to the list of obstacles between Douglas County and any effort to seize Daniels Park.
Daniels Park is a nearly 1,000-acre open space near Castle Pines. It is home to a bison herd and an area exclusively set aside for use by Indigenous people. It is part of Denver's Mountain Parks, maintained by Denver Parks and Recreation.
Republican Douglas County Commissioner George Teal proposed to seize Daniels Park from Denver during a meeting last week.
He wants Douglas County to take possession of it in response to Denver City Council passing a ban on conceal carry of firearms in Denver Parks.
On Wednesday, Hancock sent Teal a letter.
"I want to be very clear: I have no interest in entertaining any discussions regarding a transfer of ownership of one of our parks for any reason, nor do I have any interest in perpetuating a flawed notion that there is any merit to the idea that Douglas County can exercise eminent domain authority to acquire a park owned by the people of Denver and protected by our Charter because you disagree with an ordinance passed by the Denver City Council and signed into law to promote public safety."
On Tuesday, Teal said in a meeting that he has been speaking with members of Denver City Council and would be meeting with Hancock.
Hancock's staff confirmed with Next with Kyle Clark that neither Hancock nor his staff has spoken with Teal about Daniels Park.
Hancock referenced that at the start of his letter.
"I’ve been informed of your public pronouncements in media reports – and not through any form of communication with myself or members of my administration – that it is the Douglas County Board of County Commissioner’s desire to seize Daniels Park following Denver’s passage of additional gun violence prevention measures for city assets – including in our park properties."
Teal has not responded to multiple texts and voicemails left on his cell phone on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Even if Douglas County could obtain the park, it would likely not be through eminent domain. Deputy Denver Parks and Recreation Director Scott Gilmore said that real estate experts that he has spoken with have valued Daniels Park at $800 million.
Douglas County's 2022 budget totaled $511 million.
If Douglas County could afford Daniels Park, and Denver was willing to sell, there is one more hurdle. Denver City Charter 2.4.5 specifies that Denver voters must approve a sale of any Denver park.
"It would be a disservice to the communities we represent to create the false impression that the status of Daniels Park is a matter up for discussion. It is not. I will not agree to that, nor will I undermine the will of our City Council with respect to the ordinance proposed by my administration," stated the end of Hancock's letter.
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