DENVER — Just after midnight, and after several hours of public comment, the Denver City Council voted 11-2 to put an ordinance on the April ballot about the redevelopment of the former Park Hill Golf Course.
The City Council also voted to create five new metropolitan districts to raise money to pay for the projects. The next step in redevelopment would depend on voters to approve the development plan.
The discussion of what to do with the 155 acres at Colorado Boulevard and East 35th Avenue has long caused a split among residents – on whether to develop the land or keep it as open space. It's been a controversial issue since 2019, when Clayton Early Learning sold the land to a developer for $24 million.
Current owner Westside Investment Partners said it plans to develop two-thirds of the site into public greenspace and create about 3,000 new housing units on the rest of the site.
"We’re also going to be benefiting the city and the community by providing much needed affordable housing – both for sale and for rent – and we’ll be creating neighborhoods amenities like a grocery store," Westside Investment Partners Principal Kenneth Ho said in an interview Monday.
Ho said the company has committed to agreements that will ensure affordable housing, 100 acres of parks and open space, and neighborhood road safety improvements at the site. He also said the company will commit money over eight years to support neighbors who are priced out by potential increases in property taxes.
"It’s a balance, and it’s a compromise, and we think that’s what we need to do," Ho said.
But some neighbors aren't buying it. Harry Doby has fought against development on the site for years. He said he wants the entire former golf course to become a public park.
"We know that the demand in Denver for park space is critical," he said. "So it makes no sense to prioritize developing greenspace when there’s already development-available properties right across the street."
In November 2021, voters approved an ordinance intended to keep the former golf course as greenspace by requiring a citywide vote on development on land protected by a conservation easement.
If Denver voters reject the removal of the conservation easement, the landowner would have to file an application to rezone the land as open space so it could continue to be used as a golf course.
If voters approve the ordinance, under the plan that the City Council approved Dec. 5, at least 100 acres of the land would become a park and open space.
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