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Letters to the Editor

GPHC Seeks Good Faith From City On Fairfax Street

An Open Letter to Denver Parks & Recreation Director Happy Haynes:

Greater Park Hill Community (GPHC) understands that Denver Parks and Recreation proposes to soon present a Fairfax land swap bill and contract to city council.

The Greater Park Hill Community Board requests the opportunity to review your proposed bill and associated contract documents so we may respond with our Registered Neighborhood Organization’s official position before your department submits them to council committee for a decision.

When DPR Director of Park Planning Gordon Robertson presented your plans to the city’s Land Use, Transportation, and Infrastructure (LUTI) Committee on June 26, Councilmember Wayne New asked if the neighborhood’s requirements for the park would be included in the agreement with HM Capital, the developer of Park Hill Commons that has proposed the land swap. Mr. Robertson responded affirmatively. However, no one from DPR has approached Greater Park Hill for review or input into your plans, though we are given to understand you continue to negotiate with the developer. Furthermore, attendees at the July 11 Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting report that DPR now believes the bill may go to the city’s Finance committee rather than LUTI. No one has contacted GPHC to inform us of this. In fact, no one from DPR has attended a GPHC meeting since April 5.

Since we have not had the opportunity to review and respond to your presentation and we have not seen your final proposal, should you submit the bill without giving GPHC time to have a community discussion and board vote, then the RNO’s position will remain the one we took last year:

1) Don’t swap the parcels.

2) Designate the Xcel parcel immediately as a public park.

3) Engage in an active collaboration with Park Hill to design, develop, and fund the park.

Although GPHC has not revised its position officially, it has been made clear to the Park Hill community that Denver Parks and Recreation is intent on completing the land deal with HM Capital. A number of individual GPHC board members and other community representatives have suggested concessions DPR could make to our community, should the land deal be the only option you will consider. Some of these suggestions include:

• Build the park designed by the neighborhood.

• Establish a permanent Fairfax Community Park Board to ensure park uses/rules will be regulated by the community, with veto power to oversee the park design, establish and maintain the rules/uses of the park, and to establish Good Neighbor Agreements with all HM Capital tenants adjacent to the park. As the neighborhood RNO, GPHC will be the organizing and governing body of the Fairfax Park Board.

• Require all commercial tenants of Park Hill Commons to enter into Good Neighbor Agreements with GPHC as a condition of granting their leases.

• Mitigate the gentrification impact of Park Hill Commons by providing a reasonable number of affordable housing units and/or offering promotional leases to local, minority owned businesses. There should be incentives for HM Capital towards creating a model in perpetuity for the minority owned businesses and minority residences. Either in the form of tax credits, discounts or other financial benefits.

• Build the park first in Phase 1 of the Park Hill Commons development.

• Designate the parcel immediately following acceptance of its completion by the Fairfax Community Park Board.

You have an opportunity to show good faith and demonstrate that your assurances to city council of DPR’s intent to work with the Park Hill community were genuine. We ask that you take that opportunity. Delay presenting your bill to Council until you have provided GPHC a final copy and allowed our board time for review and formal response.

Tracey MacDermott
Chair, Greater Park Hill Community, Inc.

In Support Of GPHC

To Happy Haynes and Members of the Denver City Council:

The Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation Board of Directors unanimously supports Greater Park Hill Community in this endeavor. As we have stated in the most recent past, enough is enough.

George E. Mayl 
President, Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation

Editor’s Note: Past coverage of the proposed park land swap of the former Xcel property on Fairfax between 28th and 29th avenues, and the Park Hill Commons project can be read online at greaterparkhill.org.

Park Hill Stronger Than Ever

I found the articles on diversity in Denver by Sierra Fleenor and also the other two by Park Hill librarians in the June issue of the newspaper, to be very interesting and informative.

I’m a native of Park Hill and still live in the same house, which was built in 1949. In fact, it was the first one built on the block. (I’m dating myself now!)

The 60s were turbulent times in the area, when black families started moving in and white residents panicked and left, as you know. The ones who stayed, which weren’t many, actually bought guns if you can believe that. However we remained.

Since then I’ve seen a lot of changes for the better throughout the years. The neighborhood has come back stronger and more diverse than ever, which is as it should be. This is truly Park Hill, which I think is great!

Rosemary J. McManis, Park Hill

The Great American Read

It’s summertime, and Rocky Mountain PBS is inviting everyone to join The Great American Read. The program explores and celebrates the power of reading, and provides an opportunity locally for readers to engage with the list of America’s 100 best-loved novels, as chosen in a national survey.

“The Great American Read” eight-part series will launch Sept. 11 to investigate how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience. The series will air Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 – Oct. 30.

Plan your hammock reading time and get involved in these community engagement activities:

• Little Free Libraries featuring books from the list of 100 will be hosted by Rocky Mountain PBS in Denver, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction and Durango. Visit the libraries to take, leave or donate a book. Information on specific locations can be found at rmpbs.org/greatamericanread.

• Play Book Bingo by downloading the PDF from the RMPBS website or by visiting your local library to pick up a card. Complete your “Bingo,” snap a picture of your completed card, post to Instagram, tag @rmpbs and use the hashtag #greatreadpbs, and be entered to win a Kindle with all 100 books from the list included. Also, do your own Book Bingo challenge with your book-loving friends or book club.

• Check out  rmpbs.org/greatamericanread to take the quiz and see how many books on the list you’ve already read.

• Share your review of any book on the list on the RMPBS Facebook page.

• Anyone interested in hosting their own viewing party can reach out to RMPBS at webmail@rmpbs.org.

Meredith Vieira is the host of the series, with notable figures from entertainment, sports, news, and literary worlds interviewed about their favorite book from the list, which includes authors from more than 10 countries and includes 26 books that have been banned or challenged, 19 stories with strong heroines, and eight Pulitzer Prize winners.

If a book you love is missing from the list, share it with #GreatReadWish.

Stacey Hartmann, Superior, CO

We love your letters, and give preference to those that address an issue that has been covered in the newspaper, or a topic that is Park Hill or Denver-specific. Join the conversation and make your voices heard. Send letters to editor@greaterparkhill.org, and include your full name, and the neighborhood in which you live. Deadlines are the 15th of each month, for the following month’s issue.

 

Editor’s Note: Past coverage of the proposed park land swap of the former Xcel property on Fairfax between 28th and 29th avenues, and the Park Hill Commons project can be read online, including an extensive overview of the project and a timeline of events.


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