Apr 17, 2023 - Business

Denver's mayoral candidates backtrack on golf course development

The former City Park Golf Course in Denver. Photo: Hyoung Chang/Denver Post

The two remaining candidates for Denver mayor are retracting their support for developing the Park Hill Golf Course.

Driving the news: Kelly Brough and Mike Johnston supported ballot measure 2O to build 1,000-plus homes and commercial buildings on the 155-acre tract in northeast Denver.

Yes, but: Both now say that as mayor they would buy the land from the private owners, Westside Investment Partners, and make it a public park.

  • The candidates expressed dismay at the result and the loss of potential affordable housing near a transit station, but cited the public's overwhelming 59% vote to reject the development plans as the reason for their reversal.

What they're saying: "I also said I'll honor whatever voters say," Brough said at a recent campaign forum. "So today, I'll buy it and I'll build a park there."

  • "The voters have been clear on this," Johnston added. "Yes, I think voters want the easement to stay in place and they would also like that to become a public park."

Between the lines: The candidates committed to negotiating a deal with the developer to buy the land, and Brough said the city's $50 million park fund could cover the cost.

The other side: It won't be easy. The developers — who bought the defunct golf course property for $24 million in 2019 — told the Denver Gazette they won't consider selling it.

  • "Opponents permitted a big lie that Westside would turn around and give this land away," spokesperson Bill Rigler said. "That's not going to happen. Selling the land at a loss back to the city is not going to happen."
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