Park Hill Golf Course could become a tree-lined neighborhood | David Heitz

Park Hill Golf Course.City and County of Denver

The old Park Hill golf course could become a new green neighborhood in Denver.

The land use, transport and infrastructure committee will consider on Tuesday whether to approve what is called a small area plan for the golf course property. The plan guides how development would occur at the golf course. Even if the committee approves the plan, the full city council must also sign off on it.

For anything to happen at the golf course, voters would have to approve the removal of a conservation easement on the property. As part of a broad community engagement on the future of the park, only 7% of area residents wanted the green space to remain a golf course exclusively, according to the plan.

“Comments generally focused on the health and environmental benefits of parks and open spaces, and many specifically mentioned preserving existing trees and increasing the number of trees in the area,” according to the plan. “While many comments highlighted the importance of increasing open space, many others mentioned the importance of development and urged the city to consider community needs and discuss housing desires, retail business serving the community, recreational opportunities and gathering places. This desire for the site to serve as a place for future community connections was common to different viewpoints.

Owned by Westside Investment Partners

Glendale’s Westside Investment Partners purchased the site in 2019. “Since the 1980s, the non-profit Clayton Early Learning was responsible for the private 18-hole golf course it owned (operated by a third party), in a neighborhood that often lacked basic amenities such as grocery stores, transit options, and publicly accessible open spaces,” council member Chris Herndon wrote in a foreword to the plan. determined that she needed to strengthen her financial position to continue providing quality early childhood education to families in Denver. Clayton’s sale of the golf course site in 2019 sparked many ideas, conversations, debates, meetings and reports about the future of the Park Hill Golf Course.”

Help for the displaced

Residents of the area are concerned about the displacement that new developments on the site could cause. The plan calls for prioritizing affordable housing for families facing displacement by the project. “For those concerned about the involuntary relocation of long-time residents, there is affordable housing with priority for existing residents,” wrote Herndon, who represents District 8, where the golf course is located. “For those looking to remedy a long-standing food desert, the plan recommends space for grocery and fresh food choices, as well as space and support for local small businesses.”

Park amenities

The plan calls for an urban park of 70 to 80 acres comprising:

· Sports fields, courts and other active leisure facilities.

· Large or multiple playgrounds.

· A feasibility study of the field house.

· Consider water features such as a swimming pool.

· Community gathering spaces such as picnic pavilions.

· Honor the historical and cultural richness of the community.

· A climate-resilient landscape plan.

Beautification of Colorado Boulevard

The plan also calls for the creation of a western gateway for a future regional park with “significant and meaningful frontage along Colorado Boulevard” between 35th and 40th Avenues.

“Colorado Boulevard is a designated parkway that has lost its integrity as a parkway due to actions such as street widening, loss of tree canopy, and lack of a consistent building setback” , according to plan. “With the redevelopment of Park Hill Golf Course, we have the opportunity to restore the integrity of this street and envision a more modern interpretation of a promenade in the future.”

Green infrastructure

Addressing the site’s stormwater management needs “in a thoughtful and holistic manner” is also a top priority, according to the plan. The plan recommends studying the existing retention pond “to find opportunities to soften the edge of the retention pond and incorporate recreational functions and natural habitat,” the report said. “This could include green infrastructure within the right-of-way.”

What is a green infrastructure? “Examples on an urban scale could include a rain barrel against a house, a row of trees along a major city street, or the greening of an alley,” reports the Environmental Protection Agency. environment on its website. “Neighborhood-scale green infrastructure could include acres of open park space outside of a town center, planting rain gardens, or constructing a wetland near a residential complex.”

In addition to the park’s 70 to 80 acres, the neighborhood will preserve about 20 additional acres of land for green spaces, according to the plan. The site totals 155 acres.

Participation of more than 1,000 inhabitants

More than 1,000 residents gave their opinion on the small neighborhood plan. “I just feel like anything to do with removing all the trees and grass and replacing them with concrete is just problematic at this point because we live in these tiny little apartments that are locked up and locked up. already too much,” commented one resident. “And so, I feel like (the plan) has to be something that gives back to the community and also gives back to the environment.” The plan calls for preserving and expanding the neighborhood’s tree canopy by at least 20%.

Affordable Housing Components

The plan also provides affordable housing at different income levels. Many have praised the affordable housing element of the plan. “There’s not enough housing for the people living in the area, so they have to (leave),” another resident said. “And yes, they may have grown up here but can’t stay here because, like I said, houses are being built which are expensive and so they have to move because they can’t be anywhere else. .”

Support small businesses

Another commenter added, “I think not only having an affordability mix for homes, but also having an affordable price for business opportunities, because that’s one of the biggest hurdles for small business owners , is the cost of the rent.”

The small neighborhood plan also responds to this. “Historically, the Dahlia Square and Holly Square shopping centers provided affordable retail space in northeast Park Hill for local BIPOC small businesses,” according to the plan. “These commercial areas have evolved to house other community uses, leaving a void of opportunities for local small businesses to thrive in Northeast Park Hill. The new Park Hill Golf Course development is expected to meet the community’s need for spaces businesses that support local small businesses in a thriving mixed-use area.

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