BY FREDA MIKLIN
After careful planning of the bequest together with city officials, including the placement of a strong conservation easement, Catherine “Cat” Anderson passed away in 2016, leaving 17.5-acre Quincy Farm (QF) at 4400 E. Quincy Ave. in Cherry Hills Village to the city. In the five years since, countless hours have been spent by dozens and dozens of CHV citizens, as well as city staff and elected officials, trying to determine how to best accomplish Cat Anderson’s clearly outlined vision for her property.
As we have previously written, a draft master plan for QF formulated in 2020 brought about a backlash from the last remaining tenant on the property, several nearby neighbors, and Natalie Anderson, Cat’s granddaughter. After Natalie wrote to the city last summer, “to express our strong interest in exploring a potential transfer of QF back to our family,” the city council eventually chose to issue an open request for proposals for the property.
Two proposals were received on July 14, one from Natalie Anderson on behalf of the Anderson family and one from the Cherry Hills Land Preserve. A significant difference between the two proposals is that the Anderson family proposal anticipates that title to the property will be transferred back to the family, which will then be responsible for virtually all costs associated with its maintenance and operation. The Cherry Hills Land Preserve proposal presumes that CHV will retain title to QF and overall financial responsibility for its maintenance and operation. One of the factors that led up to the current situation is the estimated cost of deferred maintenance on the property, however that amount is itself in significant dispute.
At the CHV city council meeting on August 3, two residents appeared to testify during the audience participation period on the subject of QF. Linda Behr, a 36-year resident of the city, referred to QF as “a jewel,” and “a beautiful precious commodity.” She also pointed to the fact that Anderson could have easily bequeathed her property to her family but instead chose to give it to all the citizens of CHV by leaving it to the city. She favored the proposal from the Cherry Hills Land Preserve. Rebecca Benes, who has lived near QF for 41 years, appeared at the meeting to say that she strongly favored the proposal submitted by Natalie Anderson on behalf of her family.
During the discussion that evening about how the city council move toward making a decision on QF, Councilmember Dan Sheldon emphasized the importance of, “an open, transparent public process,” noting that he hoped a significant number of CHV residents would participate. Sheldon added that the city’s policy of video-recording its meetings and study sessions will be very helpful in maximizing the number of citizens who have access to the discussions and he thanked Mayor Russell for introducing the idea of video-recording CHV meetings. Mayor Pro Tem Katy Brown said, “Unequivocally, the most important thing is that we hear from the residents of Cherry Hills Village,” adding, “We have talked and talked and talked…It is time…for this body to act. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I am not in support of transferring ownership of any open space…That’s a dealbreaker for me.” She also pointed out that, “These are not the only two options,” noting the longstanding work of the city’s QF citizen’s committee. Councilmember Al Blum said he agreed with Brown that CHV should not transfer title to this property and that there are other alternatives in addition to the two proposals received. Brown then pointed the council to the possibility that this issue will bring “divisiveness and animosity” to the community.
On Tuesday, September 21 at 5:30 PM at Cherry Hills Village City Hall, Natalie Anderson and representatives of the Cherry Hills Land Preserve will make presentations “of possible future options” (their proposals) for the property. City Council members will then have the opportunity to ask questions of the presenters, after which members of the public will be invited to offer comments. The meeting will be livestreamed via the Cherry Hills Village website so that anyone can watch it as it happens. It will also be video recorded so that it can be seen and heard later through the city website or YouTube, just like all other CHV public meetings held at city hall. The council has emphasized that no decision will be made about the property that evening, it is only for the purpose of information and public input.
On Wednesday, October 6 at 5:30 PM, the city council will tour QF with Natalie Anderson. On Wednesday, October 13 at 5:30 PM, the city council will tour QF with the Cherry Hills Land Preserve. Both tours are considered open meetings and members of the public may also participate.
You can read the full proposals, along with multiple other background documents about QF, including public comments that have been received, on the CHV website at https://www.cherryhillsvillage.com/549/