Resident Process Delivers Inclusive Vision for Park Hill Golf Course

Photo courtesy of GolfPass.

After a year of working with residents in the neighborhoods around the Park Hill Golf Course, Denver Community Planning and Development and Denver Parks and Recreation has released a “Prevailing Vision” document that summarizes the input received from residents and outlines the next steps for planning a new future for this land.

Beginning in January 2021, residents weighed in through surveys, on comment forms, at public workshops and events, in small groups and conversations with Community Navigators, and through a Community Steering Committee that met monthly.

Residents expressed the most support for these priorities:

  1. Create a new, large park and community gathering places
  2. Stand up an oversight committee to guide future planning and development
  3. Preserve and expand the tree canopy to combat urban heat island effects in this area
  4. Add youth and recreational sports opportunities
  5. Include a variety of affordable (income-restricted) housing options, including for-sale units
  6. Address food insecurity by including space for grocery and fresh food choices
  7. Create space for local businesses and businesses owned by people of color
  8. Employ strategies to mitigate involuntary displacement

Download the Prevailing Vision document >> 

Of the approximately 1,300 residents who completed a survey and live within one mile of the property, 70 percent favored some development of the site; 22 percent preferred for the site to be green space only; 8 percent favored development-oriented uses only, without green space; and only 7 percent of respondents wanted to see the entire property remain a golf course. Results were similar across all forms of public input from area residents, as detailed in the Prevailing Vision document.

“Thanks to thoughtful and thorough engagement, particularly among the residents in the neighborhoods that will be most directly affected, we were able to arrive at several important shared priorities,” said Laura E. Aldrete, executive director of Community Planning and Development. “We look forward to continuing to engage our communities throughout 2022 to provide more detail on these priorities and ultimately bring a well-thought-out proposal for Denver City Council and Denver voters to consider.”

“Parks and open space play a vital role in celebrating and preserving the character of our city and neighborhoods,” said Happy Haynes, executive director of Denver Parks and Recreation. “It’s gratifying to know that Park Hill residents and participants in this process prioritized substantial parks and open space as a common vision element for this site. This community validation reinforces the importance of quality parks and open space as part of the reimagining of this site, which has been a foundation of this process since the beginning. We look forward to participating with fellow city agencies and the community in the next phase of the process to advance this vision.”

Next Steps

City planners will continue working with residents in 2022 to refine the prevailing vision into a coordinated park framework and area plan detailing park size, location, and considerations for future parks and open spaces along with more detailed land use recommendations.

Longer-term, after the community-driven guidance for the area plan takes shape, Denver City Council will vote on the plan and potentially other related actions, including an update to the conservation easement and zoning requirements that implement the area plan. When there is a clear proposal for how the conservation easement should be updated, the city will also refer the matter to a public vote in accordance with ballot initiative 301.

In light of the size of this property (155 acres), the property owner must apply for and follow the city’s large development review (LDR) process, which would be a required step at this stage for any property over five acres in size or that has the potential for significant external impacts. The LDR process was established by city ordinance in 2019 to ensure large properties have clear direction at the earliest stage of project planning on how they are expected to meet priorities important to Denver’s neighborhoods, including providing infrastructure improvements, parks and open space, and quality design for the neighborhood. The city is committed to ensuring that the future of the Park Hill Golf Course meets residents’ priorities and will align the LDR process with the coordinated park and area planning work.

The Park Hill Golf Course comprises 155 acres located at Colorado Blvd. and 35th Avenue in the Northeast Park Hill neighborhood. It was operated as a private golf course from 1930 through 2018. Westside Investment Partners purchased the land from the Clayton Trust in 2019.

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