Park Hill Golf Course - Next Steps

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At least 100 acres of parks and open space, priority housing programs for existing residents, and much more

Review the draft recommendations now

The draft recommendations and maps are the result of a year and a half of work with the community surrounding the golf course and balancing many different perspectives and needs.

  • In 2021, the visioning process brought community members together in conversations that resulted in a set of eight shared priorities. Read the Prevailing Vision >
  • In early 2022, community engagement centered around multiple draft concepts that began to lay out how those shared priorities could be reflected on the site.
  • Through the community workshop in March 2022, ongoing meetings with the steering committee, and a series of Community Talks and one-on-one community navigator conversations, public feedback helped refine those initial draft concepts -- and helped craft these draft recommendations that will form the basis of the draft area plan.

How to weigh in

Mobility Board The draft recommendations are presented in six categories:

  • Quality of Life, which includes parks and open space recommendations
  • Housing
  • Economy
  • Mobility
  • Design Quality
  • and Land Use

For each category, there is a 1- or 2-page PDF download that details the recommendations in that category, with photos and maps to help illustrate the recommendations where needed.

Each category also has a brief survey. Please use the surveys to share your thoughts on the individual recommendations. Surveys will remain open through July 7.

Join the Online Open House now

What's next

Your input will be used to strengthen and revise the recommendations. Updated drafts will be available for a second round of review as part of a community review of the draft area plan later this summer. Feedback submitted will be shared after the online open house closes on July 7.

 


Planning Process and Community Participation

As we build on the prevailing vision for the Park Hill Golf Course site, the process to create a coordinated park framework and area plan will align with the steps in our model for neighborhood planning:

  • Understand the area
  • Define the Issues and Develop Initial Recommendations
  • Refine Recommendations - Where we are currently
  • Community Review of Draft Plan
  • Legislative Review and Public Hearings
  • Citywide Vote on Partial or Full Release of Conservation Easement - Specific to Park Hill Golf Course

PHGC Process Timeline

The process will continue to be focused on the needs and opportunities for those who will be most directly affected by decisions on the Park Hill Golf Course. Members of the public will be able to continue to share their thoughts in multiple ways, and their input will inform every step of the process. Specifically, community engagement will involve work by the community steering committee and community navigators throughout the process, at least three events for the whole community with online alternatives for those not able to attend.  

PHGC Engagement Timeline(PDF, 1MB)


Ballot Initiative

In the November 2021 election, voters decided how conservation easements can be partially or fully released in Denver. There is a conservation easement on the golf course. Here’s what that vote means for this project:

  • Before Ballot Initiative 301: Any release of the easement had to be approved by City Council.
  • After Ballot Initiative 301: Any release of easement must be approved by City Council and a majority of Denver voters in a municipal election.
  • What that means: The City of Denver can continue to build on its work from 2021 and refine the eight shared priorities into a clear plan so voters can make an informed decision about the golf course in a future election. 

 

Project Description

"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

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.


Steps in this process

2021

Starting in January 2021, city planners engaged 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. 

2022 and beyond

City planners will continue working with residents in 2022 to refine the prevailing vision into a coordinated park framework and area plan detailing park size, location, and considerations for future parks and open spaces along with more detailed land use recommendations.

Planning Process and Community Participation

As we build on the prevailing vision for the Park Hill Golf Course site, the process to create a coordinate park framework and area plan will align with the steps in our model for neighborhood planning:

  • Understand the area
  • Define the Issues and Develop Initial Recommendations
  • Refine Recommendations - Where we are currently
  • Community Review of Draft Plan
  • Legislative Review and Public Hearings
  • Citywide Vote on Partial or Full Release of Conservation Easement - Specific to Park Hill Golf Course

The process will continue to be focused on the needs and opportunities for those who will be most directly affected by decisions on the Park Hill Golf Course. Members of the public will be able to continue to share their thoughts in multiple ways, and their input will inform every step of the process. Specifically, community engagement will involve work by the community steering committee and community navigators throughout the process, at least three events for the whole community with online alternatives for those not able to attend.     

After the community-driven guidance in the area plan takes shape, Denver City Council will vote on the plan and potentially other related actions, including an update to the conservation easement, zoning and other commitments that implement and enforce the area plan. When there is a clear proposal for how the conservation easement should be updated, the city will also refer the matter to a public vote in accordance with ballot initiative 301.

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.

Large Development Review - a city ordinance

In light of the size of this property (155 acres), the property owner must apply for and follow the city’s large development review (LDR) process, which would be a required step at this stage for any property over five acres in size or that has the potential for significant external impacts. The LDR process was established by city ordinance in 2019 to ensure large properties have clear direction at the earliest stage of project planning on how they are expected to meet priorities important to Denver’s neighborhoods, including providing infrastructure improvements, parks and open space, and quality design for the neighborhood. The city is committed to ensuring that the future of the Park Hill Golf Course meets residents’ priorities and will align the LDR process with the coordinated park and area planning work.  

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. 

Additionally, when there is a clear proposal for how the conservation easement should be updated, the city will also refer the matter to a public vote in accordance with ballot initiative 301.

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.

Ballot Initiative 301

In the November 2021 election, voters decided how conservation easements can be partially or fully released in Denver. There is a conservation easement on the golf course. Here’s what that vote means for this project:

  • Before Ballot Initiative 301: Any release of the easement had to be approved by City Council.
  • After Ballot Initiative 301: Any release of easement must be approved by City Council and a majority of Denver voters in a municipal election.
  • What that means: The City of Denver can continue to build on its work from 2021 and refine the eight shared priorities into a clear plan so voters can make an informed decision about the golf course in a future election. 

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

  

Prevailing Vision

Starting in January 2021, city planners from Community Planning and Development and Denver Parks and Recreation listened to what residents had to say about the future of the golf course property.

Area residents weighed in through surveys, at public workshops and events, in small groups and conversations with Community Navigators, on comment forms, and through a Community Steering Committee that met monthly.

Residents expressed the most support for these priorities:

  1. Create a new, large park and community gathering places 
  2. Stand up an oversight committee to guide future planning and development 
  3. Preserve and expand the tree canopy to combat urban heat island effects in this area 
  4. Add youth and recreational sports opportunities 
  5. Include a variety of affordable (income-restricted) housing options, including for-sale units 
  6. Address food insecurity by including space for grocery and fresh food choices 
  7. Create space for local businesses and businesses owned by people of color 
  8. Employ strategies to mitigate involuntary displacement 

Download the Prevailing Vision summary

Vision Predominante - Español

The priorities outlined above came from these forms of public input:

 

 


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). 

Of these 1,302 residents who live within one-mile of the property, 70% favored some development of the site; 22% preferred for the site to be green space only; 8% favored development-oriented uses only, without green space; and only 7% of respondents wanted to see the entire property remain a golf course.

Online Survey 

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

View an interactive dashboard of all survey results

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


Community Steering Committee

November 2021: Download the steering committee's Vision Summary(PDF, 5MB)

About this 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 considered these recommendations along with the input received from the community survey and Community Navigators in forming the prevailing vision(PDF, 1MB).

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
Jermaine Blackmon Community voice
Rachel Coates Overlook at Park Hill 
Roger Cobb Northeast Park Hill Coalition
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 
Shanta Harrison Greater Park Hill Community 
Kenneth Ho Property owner representative 
Danette Hollowell Community voice 
 Shyretta Hudnall Community voice
Pete Marczyk Business 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
Pastor Del Phillips Civic 
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. Initially, 27 members were selected. Since the start of the process, the group has evolved but overall, committee membership remains 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. 

The table above lists the committee's current roster. The demographic information below represents the group's make up at the start of the process.  

Key demographic information

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

Prevailing Vision summary: English(PDF, 1MB)Español(PDF, 884KB)

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 #14
June 14, 2022


Community Steering Committee #13
May 10, 2022


Community Steering Committee #12
April 12, 2022


Community Workshop and Feedback on Draft Concepts
March 23, 2022

This workshop included 15 break-out groups. The video recording shows the presentations before the break-out rooms. Each group took notes on three draft framework concepts on the Miro board available below and self-reported to the full audience during the last 30 minutes of the workshop.


Community Steering Committee #11
March 8, 2022


Community Steering Committee #10
February 8, 2022


Community Steering Committee #9
January 19, 2022


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

June 15, 2022: Community Open House happening in two weeks!

June 2, 2022: Save the date: Community Open House on June 30

March 25, 2022: Submit your feedback!
Comment on three draft framework concepts

March 16, 2022: REMINDER: Register for the upcoming community workshop
Virtual event happening Wednesday, March 23

March 2, 2022: Register for the upcoming community workshop
Virtual event happening Wednesday, March 23

January 2022: January 2022 Update
Next steps to detail a proposal for Denver City Council and Denver voters to consider

December 2021: Resident vision for Park Hill Golf Course centers on a new, large park and community gathering spaces
Plus: Next steps to detail a proposal for Denver City Council and Denver voters to consider

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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