Park Hill Golf Course Area Visioning Process

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Since January 2021, city planners from Community Planning and Development and Denver Parks and Recreation have been hearing what residents have to say about the future of the golf course property.

Initial findings from Community Navigators as well as results from online and mailed surveys were presented to the Community Steering Committee in May/June 2021. This data is publicly available below. In November 2021, the Community Steering Committee delivered their recommendations to the city. The city is currently reviewing all of this input, including comments submitted online.

What stands out to you from the findings below? Share your thoughts.

Community Navigators' Findings

Survey Results

Steering Committee Recommendations

About this Project

Project Description

Background 

From the 1980s through 2019, the Park Hill Golf Course land was privately owned by the Clayton Foundation (which later became Clayton Early Learning). The golf course itself was operated by Arcis Golf. The golf course closed in 2018, and in 2019, Clayton Early Learning sold the land to Westside Investment Partners. 

Since the 1990s, an easement has been in place on the land, which limits its use to a daily fee, 18-hole golf course. This easement is still in place today. A 2019 legal agreement between the city and the new owner allows up to three years for a public process to determine if the community wants to continue limiting the future use of this property to a golf course.

"My priorities for the property and for the neighborhood have always been preserving open space and extensive community input. This agreement ensures we will have both. The easement will be preserved while the neighbors who are most impacted by this property will be able to guide its future use." -- Mayor Michael B. Hancock

Steps in this process

First, city planners will engage the community -- especially the neighbors who are most impacted by this property -- to understand people's visions and hopes for the land, and to identify ways to achieve neighborhood goals, including thoughtfully designed parks and open space that can become a neighborhood resource. 

Next, if a community vision supports the idea of adding new uses in this area, we will continue working with residents to draft policy recommendations on how to achieve the vision. We would then incorporate these into a written and formal small area plan that is ultimately sent to Denver Planning Board and City Council for review and adoption. 

In addition, this process would include drafting any development agreements related to implementing and enforcing the plan with the current property owner and supporting the formation of any additional community benefits agreements as needed or desired.

Altogether, this work is likely to take a year or more, and will inform any future discussions on whether to lift or amend the current conservation easement. All work is done in conjunction with the public, and community input is requested at each stage, as we work together to create and implement a well-thought-out plan.

Conservation easement

In 1997, the city agreed to pay The George W. Clayton Trust (Clayton) $2 million to acquire a set of use restrictions on the Park Hill Golf Course limiting the use of that land to a regulation-length 18-hole public golf course with a daily fee. The use restrictions represent a private restrictive covenant and a real property interest owned by the city. They are still in place today. If there is no approved plan within three years, the city can require Westside to return the property to an 18-hole golf course according to the terms of the settlement agreement.

The current zoning of the property is OS-B (open space recreation district), but the use restrictions contained in the conservation easement further limit the use of the property to an 18-hole golf course.

The conservation easement in place for the Park Hill Golf Course is a unique and unusual situation in Denver. For example, it does not function to preserve the land for natural habitat protection, which would be a typical use of a conservation easement, but rather it preserves the land for use as a fee-based golf course. As such, the city believes there is a clear legal path under state law that would allow for modifications to be made to the conservation easement, such as lifting the golf course use restriction, if there is community and City Council support for doing so.

Download more information:

Legal settlement with the city

In late 2019, the city finalized a Settlement Agreement with Westside Investment Partners that maintains existing land use restrictions at the privately-owned Park Hill Golf Course and guarantees the community and City Council will have a defining role in any proposed changes.

Above all, the Settlement Agreement maintains the requirement for Westside to get City Council approval to make changes to the land. It also gives Westside no less than three years to complete a community engagement process to explore a different vision for the land that is not exclusively focused on a golf course, as required by the Conservation Easement. After that time, absent an approved plan, the agreement gives the city the right to require Westside to restore the land to a golf course at Westside's expense.

Additionally, the city acquired 25 acres in the northeast corner of the property to build a stormwater detention basin for the Platte to Park Hill (P2P) project in order to prevent flooding. In consideration for the real estate interests acquired by the city, the city paid Westside $6 million. The payment will cover any potential costs incurred for future restoration of the golf course if a consensus on an alternative plan fails to materialize.

The settlement brings to an end all litigation relating to the property.

Please see the following downloads related to the settlement:

Who owns the Park Hill Golf Course?

The Park Hill Golf Course is owned by development firm Westside Investment Partners who originally purchased the property in June 2019. The Holleran Group joined Westside as a co-developer in 2020.

Biographies provided by Westside Investment Partners and the Holleran Group:

Westside Investment Partners is based in Denver and was founded in 1998 by Andy Klein, a Denver native and graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. The company has developed projects in Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas and prioritizes a development process that lifts up communities and celebrates their histories. Kenneth Ho joined the Westside team as a principal in 2019 and leads the Park Hill Golf Course project.

The Holleran Group is a collaborative partnership of African American real estate developers, brokers, community outreach specialists and event and project managers. The Holleran Group believes in creating equitable opportunities and that everything they do should lead and empower communities to create solutions for sustainable wealth. Their vision is a future where they can leverage economic opportunities to build stronger, more inclusive communities. The Holleran Group is made up of Norman Harris, Ty Hubbard, Wayne Vaden, Herman White and Erica Wright – all long time Denverites.


Community Navigators

Community Voice Report

Community Navigators aim to encourage participation from underrepresented populations, including seniors, youth, Latinx, African Americans, and renters in the Northeast Park Hill, Elyria Swansea, and Clayton neighborhoods. Each navigator was experienced in working with culturally diverse populations and pledged to be a neutral facilitator. Navigators were prohibited from taking a stance on any specific outcome related to the golf course.

From February to July 2021, Community Navigators hosted...

  • 18 Community Talks, which were small group conversations of around 8-12 people, and
  • 101 one-on-one conversations.

Top Themes

Top themes that emerged in conversations with residents included a desire for recreational opportunities like parks and open space, some local retail space including for groceries, and more affordably priced for-sale homes. The most popular topic discussed was a desire for the next phase of the former golf course to create community, with ways for people to cultivate bonds with neighbors in outdoor spaces, such as parks and outdoor venues, through small businesses, and over food. The desire for community connections was common across differing viewpoints and bridged the gap between development and open space. 

View pages 12-18 of the Community Voice Report for these and other qualitative findings.

Download the Community Voice Report

The Community Navigators program was administered by Denver Metro Community Impact


Community Survey

Park Hill Golf Course Mailed Survey

The survey is one of multiple ways the city is listening to the community in this process. The city hired RRC Associates, a market research firm, to conduct two public surveys on the future of Park Hill Golf Course. One survey was mailed to residents in the neighborhoods around the golf course. The other survey was available online and was open to anyone, regardless of where they lived. Both surveys contained the same questions.

Download the survey questions

Mailed Survey 

Altogether, 1,302 surveys were completed and returned by residents who live within one mile of the golf course. Approximately 6,000 surveys were mailed. While not every household within a mile of the golf course received or completed a survey, 1,302 responses is more than three times the number of responses needed to be considered statistically significant (PDF). 

Online Survey 

In addition, 1,388 online surveys were filled out by people citywide. 

View an interactive dashboard of survey results

Download the full survey report.(PDF, 7MB) (Public comments begin on page 70.)


Community Steering Committee

Community Planning and Development and Denver Parks and Recreation worked with local leaders in assembling a community steering committee to help guide a neighborhood-centered conversation on the future of the Park Hill Golf Course. Committee members meet monthly to help review and consider public feedback, engage others in the visioning process, and ultimately recommend actions for consideration by Denver City Council. All steering committee meetings are announced in advance and are open to the public to observe. 

In November 2021, the steering committee delivered recommendations to the city in the form of a Vision Summary. The committee's Vision Summary captured the broad, independent views and feelings of the committee's members. It is not a statement of consensus, but identifies similarities and differences of various visions for the future of the golf course. The City and County of Denver will consider these recommendations along with the input received from the community survey and Community Navigators

Download the steering committee's Vision Summary(PDF, 5MB)

Members and affiliations

Name Organization, role or interest 
 Chandi Aldena Parks and open space advocacy, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, professional experience at The Trust for Public Land
 Imam Abdur-Rahim Ali  Civic
 Evelyn Barnes  Northeast Park Hill Coalition 
 Jermaine Blackmon  Community voice
 Rachel Coates  Overlook at Park Hill 
 Sadé Cooper  Collaborative Healing Initiative within Communities
 Rev. Eugene Downing  Civic 
 Drew Dutcher  Elyria and Swansea Neighborhood Association
 Nicholas Glenn   Northeast Denver Transportation Connections
 Muhammad Khan  Clayton United 
 Gerie Grimes  Youth and family and health advocacy 
 Melodie Polodori Harris  Business community voice 
 Shanta Harrison  Greater Park Hill Community 
 Kenneth Ho  Property owner representative 
 Danette Hollowell  Community voice 
 David Martin  Park Hill Village Neighborhood
 Jeff Martinez  Affordable Housing Advocacy 
 Andre McGregor  Parks and Recreation Advisory Board 
 LaMone Noles  East Denver Residents Council
 Shonnell Norris  Business community voice
 Norma J. Paige  Business community voice 
 Pastor Del Phillips  Civic 
 Sandy Robnett  Save Open Space Denver
 Paty Sands  Community voice
 Sean Smith  Affordable housing advocacy 
 Noah Stout   Community voice
 Lisa Zoeller  Community voice

 

How the committee came together 

Our priority in forming this committee was to ensure that the group would reflect the diversity of the neighborhood surrounding the golf course, both in demographics and interests. An interest form was posted from October 30, 2020 to January 8, 2021, resulting in more than 200 applications. The 27 members selected for the committee are a cross section of the community--residents, renters, local business owners, advocates and civic leaders--bringing a wide range of voices and ideas to the process.

Key demographic information

The data and selection criteria are available for download at the links below.  

 

Download demographic data for committee (PDF)

Download demographic data for interest form pool (XLSX)

Download selection criteria (PDF)

 

 


Resources

Area Information

These documents were prepared by city planners in conjunction with researchers to assess the conditions of the surrounding area, including traffic, sidewalks, bike lanes, transit stops, local economy and market, parks, open spaces, notable environmental features, and more.

Public Input

These documents reflect the opinions of residents who participated in the visioning process by completing a survey or speaking with a community navigator. City planners are continuing to collect public input throughout the summer and will use this to determine the city's next steps. 

Conservation Easement

The golf course is currently subject to a conservation easement, which limits the use of this land to a golf course. 

Legal History

If you use assistive technology and need help reading content in these files, please contact Courtney Levingston at 720-865-3074.


Meeting Archive

Meeting Archive

If you use assistive technology and need additional help with any of the documents below, contact planning@denvergov.org.

Community Steering Committee #8
October 12, 2021


Community Steering Committee #7
September 14, 2021


Community Workshop
August 3, 2021

This workshop included multiple break-out groups, and the middle of the video recording may jump around between break-out rooms. Each group took notes on the Miro board available below and self-reported to the full audience during the last 30 minutes of the workshop.


Community Steering Committee #6
July 27, 2021


Community Steering Committee #5
June 29, 2021


Community Steering Committee #4
June 8, 2021


Community Steering Committee #3
May 18, 2021


Virtual Open House
March 25, 2021


Community Steering Committee #2
March 9, 2021 


Community Steering Committee #1
February 9, 2021

Newsletter Archive

July 2021: Community survey results are in!
Plus: Join us August 3 for a virtual workshop

May 2021: Dr. Ryan Ross to lead Park Hill Golf Course committee
Inside: Meet Dr. Ross and learn what's next for the visioning process

March 2021: Park Hill Golf Course: Join us for a virtual open house March 25
Inside: March meeting dates and a Community Navigators update

February 2021: A community steering committee launches for the Park Hill Golf Course
Inside: January meetings with neighborhood groups and an introduction to Community Navigators

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