DENVER — For the 155 acres of land formerly known as Park Hill Golf Course, there are plenty of ideas for what could be.
"All year long, we've been meeting with residents and we've been collecting their feedback," said Laura Swartz, spokesperson for Community Planning and Development for the City of Denver. "Today, we've released a kind of a summary of that feedback."
Creating a park was at the top of the list.
"The chief priority is really having a large park with community gathering spaces. We heard a lot from people about the desire to have community," Swartz said.
- Create a new, large park and community gathering places.
- Stand up an oversight committee to guide future planning and development.
- Preserve and expand the tree canopy to combat urban heat island effects in this area.
- Add youth and recreational sports opportunities.
- Include a variety of affordable, or income-restricted, housing options, including for-sale units.
- Address food insecurity by including space for grocery and fresh food choices.
- Create space for local businesses and businesses owned by people of color.
- Employ strategies to mitigate involuntary displacement.
For Harry Doby, it’s the development piece he and others with Save Open Space Denver aren’t in favor of.
"Why don’t we deserve a full-size park instead of a pocket park?" Doby said.
In November, Denver voters approved an ordinance to keep the former golf course as is by requiring a citywide vote on any new development on land protected by a conservation easement, like Park Hill Golf Course.
Doby says because of new development already taking place near and around Park Hill Golf Course, it shouldn't be required to build more. Instead, he'd like to see a plan to make it into a large park for the surrounding community.
"Unfortunately, it was really no surprise. I mean, we knew from the start that this was a developer-driven agenda that they were pushing," Doby said.
For Lamone Noles, who was on the community steering committee, new development isn’t bad as long as a bigger piece of land is reserved for a park.
"If it's 60 acres, I can support that," Noles said.
She can also support the money that could come from new affordable housing and businesses.
"When you generate revenue, then the neighborhood and that development can pay for itself. So, that is where the equity piece comes in, and that's what I'm pushing for," Noles said.
In the coming months, the city says they’ll continue working with the community and build a detailed plan for the future of the land.
"Not everybody always agrees on what that should be. But even in those disagreements, there are still areas where we have shared values," Swartz said.
It's a vision for one of the last large undeveloped properties in the city with many perspectives on the best path forward.