Call for Denver City Council to Maintain Perpetual Conservation Easement
With the future of the Park Hill Golf Course land open space potentially threatened after the recent sale of the land, The Democratic Party of Denver gave a thundering vote of support for preservation Saturday, calling on Denver’s City Council to continue to protect the perpetual conservation easement that prohibits development of the land, maintains it as open space, and opens the door to potentially turn it into a park.
The Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Denver voted nearly unanimously in favor of a resolution supporting the continued protection of the conservation easement at its semi-annual meeting of its members. The resolution passed by a margin of over 90%, with only a handful of members voting against the resolution. There are 564 members of the Central Committee, which is made of Precinct Committee Persons from every precinct in the city, all Democratic Party officers at the local, state, and national level who live in Denver, and all elected officials in local, state, and federal offices who are Democrats and Denver residents.
“Save Open Space Denver’s mission is to preserve this unique 155-acre parcel of urban open space for our city,” said Harry Doby, a Save Open Space Denver leader. “With this vote urging City Council to protect and preserve the conservation easement, we are one step closer to our goal to one day see this become a regional park.”
A conservation easement was first attached to the land during Mayor Wellington Webb’s tenure, and a new version was granted in July 2019. The Conservation easement can only be removed by a majority vote of City Council and in compliance with the Colorado conservation easement statute. Existing concerns about Denver’s commitment to the conservation easement were heightened when the land was sold in 2019 to Westside Investment Partners, Inc., a real estate development company, at a price well above its appraised value with the new conservation easement attached, but well below its value as development property. Webb has been a vocal proponent of maintaining the conservation easement on the land — the largest undeveloped tract that could be available to fill Denver’s park shortage — citing the city’s shrinking open space to population ratio, rising ozone levels and incidences of lung disease, and increasing impermeable concrete surfaces.
“I am delighted that the Denver Democrats passed a resolution supporting protecting open space and parks and taking a stance on fighting climate change,” Webb said after the resolution passed.
The Denver Democrats had a brief debate about the resolution, in keeping with their standard protocol, and while recognizing that there are always competing demands for worthy projects when land becomes available, they were unequivocal in their belief that once open space is lost, it can never be reclaimed.
“The support for this resolution reflects the values embedded in the Democratic Party Platform at both the state and county level, and voting our values makes it easy,” said Owen Perkins, a member of the Central Committee who introduced the resolution. “Our county platform calls for us to expand and preserve Denver’s parks, wetlands, and green and open spaces, and our state platform affirms that the health of our land, air, and water — and the health of future generations — cannot be bought and sold.”
For more information about the perpetual open space conservation easement covering the Park Hill Golf Course land, including the full text of the resolution passed by The Democratic Party of Denver, please visit https://sosdenver.net/.
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