About 120 protesters gathered on May 14 near Bogey’s at the City Park Golf Course, demanding the city’s proposed Platte to Park Hill Stormwater Systems drainage project be quashed.
Public Works officials announced in March their preference is to use a large portion of City Park Golf Course as a detention area to hold water during periods of heavy rains. The plan would require the removal of up to 280 mature trees, as well as potentially moving the 15-year old Bogey’s clubhouse. The golf course would be closed for one to two years while being reconfigured.
The project would also include a mile-long open drainage channel along 29th Avenue from Franklin to Steele streets, and an outfall on the Platte River in the Globeville neighborhood, northwest of Park Hill.
Protesters who have been pushing to “Ditch the Ditch” – that is, to halt the Colorado Department of Transportation’s plan to widen Interstate 70 northwest of Park Hill – have joined the fight against the stormwater project. City officials term the two projects “separate, but related.” It would benefit the I-70 widening, they say, as well as Denver neighborhoods from west City Park northwest to Globeville.
The plan would not immediately address stormwater infrastructure in the Park Hill neighborhood, many portions of which experience sometimes extreme flooding. Any improvements to the stormwater infrastructure in Park Hill are at least nine to 10 years away, city officials have said.
Also in May, several members of the Denver City Council raised questions and concerns about the scope, and the cost, of the project. The pricetag has jumped from $173 million to a current estimate of $267 million to $298 million, which would be paid by a hefty citywide stormwater fee increase. After some deliberation, the city council’s committee on infrastructure and culture approved the stormwater plan and fee increase be sent to the full city council for a vote. Photos and story by Cara DeGette