Keep The Tranquility Of The Park Hill Golf Course Land
By Shanta Harrison
For the GPHN
I live 10 minutes by foot from the Park Hill Golf Course (PHGC) land. Although I’m not a golfer, I have enjoyed the grounds up close on many occasions while attending events at the clubhouse.
Having lived in Park Hill my entire life, the scenery as I drive down 35th Avenue from my home to Colorado Boulevard is familiar. It’s relaxing. It’s home. The vast landscape of trees and greenery creates a sense of tranquility and nostalgia that no longer exists in other areas of the neighborhood. I cannot think of a more miserable fate for that land than for it to be converted into yet another a sea of apartments and concrete.
More concrete? More traffic? We don’t need it. What we need is fresh air. We need naturally permeable surfaces. We need to be able to see the sky and the mountains and the trees. I know many neighbors who share these sentiments. Most of them won’t write letters like this or show up for meetings but, if you take the time to meet them where they are, they’ll tell you exactly how they feel. Talk of more density is highly undesirable as it often leads to gentrification. They love their neighborhood. They want to be able to live here, peacefully, for the foreseeable future.
Of course, there are some who would have you to believe that preserving this land is not in the best interest of the neighborhood. Westside, the company that wants to develop this land, has sent its principal representative to roam the neighborhood, attend community meetings, and garner support from our so-called advocates in the neighborhood.
“We live in a food desert,” they say. “We need affordable housing.” But what they won’t tell you is that there are a number of viable spaces surrounding the PHGC land that could easily serve in these capacities but they are not even being considered. Why? Because cash is king, and the Park Hill Golf Course land is a goldmine.
Speaking of affordable housing, the question that no seems to be asking is, affordable to whom? What is Westside’s definition of “affordable?” I would encourage anyone on the fence about this issue to research Westside’s track record for building housing that would actually be considered affordable to anyone but the upper-middle class. I’d love to hear the results. In the meantime, there are many who would like to see the other viable surrounding options/spaces explored for the building of truly affordable housing and retail development.
I am a proud member of SOS Denver. We have absolutely no financial interest in the outcome of this effort. We are your daughters, sons, friends, and colleagues – ordinary residents/citizens from various parts of the Park Hill neighborhood, who are dedicated to preserving the beauty that, for decades, has made this city one of the most desirable places to live and raise a family.
The recent stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic has incited a new- found love and craving for the outdoors for many. The PHGC land, surrounded by five different neighborhoods, has become a magnet for those craving fresh air and open space.
A growing number of residents are taking advantage of the natural landscapes and walking paths that the land offers. The land is already being used as parkland. I’ll say that again for the folks in the back…THE PEOPLE are already using this beautiful open space as PARKLAND – walking, biking, exercising, etc. All that’s missing are the swing sets and benches. The people have unofficially spoken. It’s time to make it official. The city should buy the land and designate it as a public park, open and accessible to all.
Shanta Harrison is a lifelong resident of Northeast Park Hill.