Tom Noel, Dr. Colorado, Denver’s premier historian, reminds us in his axial book, Denver, the City Beautiful that Denver in the early days was filled with “sooty coal smoke, stockyard stench, and smelter fumes fouled the air. Housewives complained that their wash became dirty again while hanging out to dry. Street corners were perfumed by more than 300 saloons, which gave 1890 Denver more bars per capita than Boston or New Orleans, although less than half the ratio of America’s wettest city San Francisco.” P. 9, The City Beautiful.
With the election of Mayor Robert Speer, Denver began to turn the corner on being the “City Ugly.” Speer fought for parks and open space, protected by a city charter, which said if you want to develop any dedicated park land in Denver, you have to go to a vote of the people and get permission for such development. That’s why we must vote NO on ballot measure 302, a developer’s attempt to develop city open space. Let’s stop playing Russian Roulette with our city’s open space. If they can do this to Park Hill, your neighborhood cannot be far behind in this regressive attempt to develop park and open space in Denver. We have to vote YES on 301 and NO on 302 not only for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren’s park futures. They spent over $250,000 to get this scheme on the November ballot.
These two proposed measures would have caught Mayor Speer’s watchful eye. In my view, the city beautiful builder would be supporting the Park Hill Neighborhood in their measure 301 to retain Park Hill Golf Course as open space. You may be tired of hearing me talk about it, but we all have to support the Park Hill neighborhood in their attempt to preserve the last large open space in Denver. Mayor Wellington Webb has stepped up following in the footsteps of Mayor Robert Speer and supports #301 on the Denver ballot to retain Park Hill Golf Course as open space. He will vote NO on #302, the developer’s grab on city open space. Remember, #301 covers the whole city of Denver, not just Park Hill.
Speer would be opposing 302, a developer’s scheme to develop Park Hill Golf Course. The city voters must turn in a resounding “NO” vote on this developer’s attempt to grab city open space land for personal profitable development. The developers argue that the land at the golf course is on the northerly edge of the city and near an industrial area. This is all the more reason to preserve open space on the northern edge of our city. Speer is calling out to us in this election from his humble grave at Fairmount Cemetery: “Vote NO on 302,” shouts Old Mayor Bob.
Tom Noel, who lives in Montclair, next to Park Hill, has a sign in his front yard, saying “Green VS Concrete, Yes on 301 and NO on 302.” If you want to join him and me, in Berkeley Regis and Mayor Webb in East City Park, you too can put the same sign in your front yard as well. Contact Woody Garnsey at email@example.com. He will get you a sign.
In 1914, Denver was trying to figure out how to best design Genesee Park, a Denver Mountain park in Jefferson County. It’s still there and has not been sold off to developers in Jefferson County. But then some newfangled automobile lovers wanted to level off the top of Genesee Mountain. Let’s take out all the trees, like the developer did at Loretto Heights. So that way lots of cars could park up there on that wonderful mountain top. Thank goodness, Denver ran out of money and Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr., Speer’s parks planner prevailed and only one of Denver’s buffalo herds now scratch their furry backsides on the tree barks up there.
Get your ballots in by November 2nd, 2021. Tell your friends and neighbors.
The Honorable Dennis Gallagher is a former city auditor, city councilman, state senator and state representative