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.
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:
- 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 (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
Download the Prevailing Vision summary
Vision Predominante - Español(PDF, 884KB)
The priorities outlined above come from these forms of public input:
Community Navigators' Findings
Steering Committee Recommendations
Additional Comments Submitted
About this Project
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. Learn more >
"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
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
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.
Longer term, 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.
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.
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 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.
The Community Navigators program was administered by Denver Metro Community Impact.
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
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.
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.)
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 will consider these recommendations along with the input received from the community survey and Community Navigators.
Members and affiliations
||Organization, role or interest
||Parks and open space advocacy, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, professional experience at The Trust for Public Land
|Imam Abdur-Rahim Ali
||Overlook at Park Hill
||Northeast Park Hill Coalition
||Collaborative Healing Initiative within Communities
|Rev. Eugene Downing
||Elyria and Swansea Neighborhood Association
||Northeast Denver Transportation Connections
||Youth and family and health advocacy
||Greater Park Hill Community
||Property owner representative
||Business community voice
||Park Hill Village Neighborhood
||Affordable Housing Advocacy
||Parks and Recreation Advisory Board
||East Denver Residents Council
||Business community voice
|Norma J. Paige
||Business community voice
|Pastor Del Phillips
||Affordable housing advocacy
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 initially 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.
Since the start of the process, committee membership has evolved. 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 selection criteria (PDF)
Prevailing Vision summary: English(PDF, 1MB) | Español(PDF, 884KB)
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.
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.
The golf course is currently subject to a conservation easement, which limits the use of this land to a golf course.
If you use assistive technology and need help reading content in these files, please contact Courtney Levingston at 720-865-3074.
If you use assistive technology and need additional help with any of the documents below, contact email@example.com.
Community Steering Committee #9
January 19, 2022
Community Steering Committee #8
October 12, 2021
Community Steering Committee #7
September 14, 2021
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