Denver Parks and Recreation this week completed its fourth and fifth rounds of park designations for previously undesignated open space. The department began the designation process in the spring of 2013 in an effort to ensure that the City’s parkland is protected from future development and real estate transactions. With these latest efforts, more than 660 acres of parks, parkways and natural areas are now designated, representing approximately 83 percent of all Denver-owned open space within the city limits.
At the start of this process in 2013, approximately 68 percent of available open space was already designated. Newer parcels of land that had been added to Denver’s park system over the past 30-60 years had not gone through the process of being officially designated as park land. Although those parcels had always been used as parks or other open spaces, the lack of an official designation meant that they could be used for other purposes or sold without requiring a ballot measure. The process of designating each eligible parcel means any future effort to change the use of that land or sell it to another party must be put to a vote for the citizens of Denver to approve.
“It has always been our goal to designate every eligible parcel of land within our park system,” said Lauri Dannemiller, Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation. “We have worked closely with park advocates made up of representatives from the Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation (INC) to identify undesignated land, and we are closing in on our goal of having 100 percent of all eligible land within our urban park system protected.”
There are many parcels of land within the Denver park system that are not eligible for designation because the property is owned by a public utility or other entity. This amounts to approximately 10 percent of the approximately 6,000 acres of land within the urban park system. The next round of park designations is planned for early next year and will include Lakewood/Dry Gulch Park, Pasquinel’s Landing and more.
Denver Parks and Recreation (DPR) facilities are unrivaled in the Rocky Mountain West. The DPR system spans over a 146-year history, from the first park created in 1868 to nearly 20,000 acres of urban parks and mountain parkland today. Within the city limits, Denver’s park system embraces nearly 6,000 acres of “traditional” parks, parkways and urban natural areas.