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Park Hill Golf Course debate will now have an impact on all Denverites

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Posted at 5:48 PM, Sep 22, 2021

DENVER — The battle over what to with Denver's old Park Hill Golf Course continues, and it could mean sweeping changes for everyone in the city.

In front of supporters at his home in City Park, former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb placed the first political sign in favor of ballot initiative 301 as part of a grassroots movement calling for Park Hill Golf Course to remain a green space.

"This is not just a Denver Park Hill issue. This is for every neighborhood in the city," Webb said. "If they do it to me, they will do it to you."

The land is currently bound to a conservation easement. Initiative 301 and 302 are competing ballot measures coming up in November.

Initiative 302 redefines conservation easement in Denver, and, if passed, the term would only apply to certifications made by the state. It would essentially neutralize initiative 301, which would require a citywide vote before the conservation easement can be lifted.

"We ask questions like what would happen if we allowed the whole entire city weigh in on community decisions? How would Five Points feel if Cherry Creek were voting on an issue that's affecting Five Points?" Norman Harris said.

Harris is part of the group that owns the golf course planning to develop affordable housing and shopping centers on the 155 acres of currently unused land while still promising to set aside 60 acres of green space.

Webb and his supporters, like former City Auditor Dennis Gallagher, question if those who need cheaper housing could even afford what’s planned there.

"When I hear the opposition saying 'we’re going to have affordable housing,' So then I ask, well, how much are they? Three hundred and $400,000, that is not affordable housing," Gallagher said.

LoMone Noles lives in Park Hill. She believes in the redevelopment of the golf course, especially the building up of retail space to attract outsiders to the neighborhood.

"This to them is about land. For us, it’s about community, and we deserve to have a thriving community, including businesses, homes and what not, just like any up and coming neighborhood," Noles said.

Whether the old Park Hill Golf Course stays a park or becomes a place to park, shops and homes, it could be up to voters this November.