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Parks and Recreation Completes Additional Park Designations

Denver Parks and Recreation recently completed its sixth round of park designations for previously undesignated open space.  With these latest efforts, more than 749 acres of parks, parkways, open spaces and natural areas are now designated, representing approximately 85 percent of all Denver-owned open space within the city limits.

The most significant of these designations are 52 acres of Lakewood/Dry Gulch that runs through Council District 1 and Council District 3 in West Denver, and 26.2 acres of Town Center Park located in Council District 11 in Green Valley Ranch.

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.  Through this process, Denver Parks and Recreation is taking steps to officially designate all applicable park land and open space around the city through city ordinance.  Once a park has been dedicated, it can only be used as a park and that cannot be changed without approval by Denver’s voters.

Most park land and open space within Denver’s system is currently designated, but several newer parcels of land that have been added within the past 30-60 years did not receive official designation as park land for various reasons such as legal restrictions, unacceptable condition or unsuitability as a park.  Although those parcels may have 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.

"Designating land as a ‘park’ under Section 2.4.5 of the City Charter is important in that it clarifies that this land is to be protected and specified as a Denver park,” said Happy Haynes, Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation.  “This is a necessary process to ensure that our parks and open spaces are preserved and that any decision to change that use is in the hands of Denver’s voters.  We will continue this process to ensure we designate every eligible acre of land within our urban park system is 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. 

Throughout the designation process, Denver Parks and Recreation leaders have worked closely with parks advocates made up of representatives from Denver’s umbrella neighborhood organization, INC.  The Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation group collaborated with Denver Parks and Recreation to identify all acres that are eligible for designation and will continue to work with us as new parcels of land are identified for park and open space use in the future.

To date, 216 sites in the Denver system are now officially designated, with 6 more planned during the seventh designation round set to begin in March.  The next round of park designations is planned for Spring 2016 and will include Hampden Heights West, Hutchinson East, and portions of Bear Valley, Summit Lake, Fillius, and Genesee Parks.

Since 2011, Denver Parks and Recreation has acquired, developed, or took management of over 600 acres.  The following parks (with acreage) have been designated since April 2011:

Location Name

Park Type

Acres

Designation

Lakewood/Dry Gulch

Community

52.0

2015 November

Magna Carta

Neighborhood

0.2

2015 November

Pasquinel's Landing

Neighborhood

3.4

2015 November

Town Center Park

Community

26.2

2015 November

Unnamed 46th & Pecos

Neighborhood

3.5

2015 November

Weir Gulch Marina

Neighborhood

2.8

2015 November

Habitat Park

Open Space

7.7

2014 November

Centennial Park

Special Use

5.5

2014 November

 

     

Prairie Park

Open Space

6.4

2014 November

City of Ulaanbaatar

Neighborhood

5.1

2014 November

Montclair East Park

Community

5.6

2014 November

Highland Senior Center Park

Neighborhood

0.9

2014 November

Stapleton Central Park Addition

Community

10.6

2014 November

Bayaud Park

Neighborhood

7.0

2014 May

Lowry Sports Complex

Athletic Complex

95.2

2014 May

Crescent Park

Neighborhood

7.2

2014 May

Cuatro Vientos/Four Winds Park

Neighborhood

1.2

2014 May

51st & Broadway Park

Pocket

0.7

2014 May

Swansea Neighborhood Park

Neighborhood

3.3

2014 May

Hampden Heights Park

Community

32.5

2014 May

Veterans Park

Community

16.4

2014 May

City Park Golf Addition

Community

0.5

2014 May

Denison Park Addition

Neighborhood

0.4

2014 May

Bear Creek Park

Regional

79.0

2014 January

Dartmouth Gulch Park

Open Space

3.3

2014 January

Fishback Park

Neighborhood

2.2

2014 January

Southwest Auto Park

Pocket

1.5

2014 January

Unnamed 51st & Zuni Park

Neighborhood

12.8

2014 January

Central Park

Regional

78.9

2014 January

Greenway Park

Community

40.3

2014 January

Parkfield

Regional

38.3

2014 January

Gates Crescent Park

Neighborhood

10.7

2014 January

Camp Rollandet

Open Space

7.0

2014 January

First Creek

Open Space

37.1

2013 April

Green Valley Ranch East

Community

13.4

2013 April

Green Valley Ranch West

Neighborhood

3.5

2013 April

Marrama

Pocket

1.5

2013 April

41st & Ensenada

Neighborhood

5.1

2013 April

42nd & Lisbon

Neighborhood

18.0

2013 April

13th & Xenia

Neighborhood

2.1

2013 April

Ruby Hill

Regional

81.9

2013 April

Hentzell Park (addition)

Open Space

15.9

2013 April

 

 

749.4