Last month, the Denver County Clerk announced that the community led Empower Northeast Denver campaign had enough valid signatures to make the November Denver ballot. The measure is a direct response to an initiative filed by SOS Denver to take away the voice of an entire neighborhood that has been systematically disenfranchised for more than 50 years. If the Empower Northeast Denver initiative passes, the current conservation easement on the Park Hill Golf Course property will remain in place. The City and the community will continue to work together to develop a plan that benefits the surrounding neighborhood, and the voices of Northeast Park Hill will lead this process.
“As a member of the Park Hill neighborhood, we are filing this ballot initiative so that our community can have a say in the future of the Park Hill Golf Course,” said Mark Marshall, ballot initiative proponent. “I fully support some kind of mixed-use development on this property that can help us provide affordable housing, business and employment opportunities, and park space, but the bottom line is the local community has the right to make that decision — and SOS is trying to take that away.”
While the measure filed by SOS claims to be about open space, it only applies to the Park Hill Golf Course Property and would essentially disregard the city’s visioning process with the Northeast Park Hill neighborhood. More importantly, if the SOS measure passes, the whole city will get to vote on any change to this property. This essentially gives the rest of the city veto power over Northeast Park Hill and prevents them from deciding what this space could become for their community.
“We are filing this ballot initiative to protect the voice of Northeast Park Hill homeowners and residents,” said ballot proponent Terrell Curtis. “This community has been disenfranchised for decades, and now people who do not live here are trying to allow the whole city to decide what’s best for us. The survey done by the City clearly shows that the larger city has very different priorities than the Northeast Park Hill neighborhood. We shouldn’t let Cherry Creek residents decide what communities in Five Points need and vice versa. We should be empowering neighborhoods that have been silenced to lead the process, not taking away their choice.”
A recent survey conducted by the city of Denver showed that 4 in 5 residents wanted a mix of uses on Park Hill Golf Course and the surrounding community highlighted a grocery store, affordable housing, and athletic fields as top priorities
“I have lived and worked in this community for 25 years,” said ballot proponent Dr. Carroll Ali Watkins. “We have real needs in this community, but there doesn’t have to be winners and losers. We can all work together to build something better for the next generation. It’s time we start thinking about people and not property.”