Re: “Northeast Park Hill needs opportunities and housing,” commented March 4th
In an opinion piece published March 4 in the Denver Post, Ty Hubbard and Norman Harris of The Holleran Group set out their goals for 155 acres of Park Hill Golf Course land. Hubbard and Harris explain, “We need to make sure that the newest voices, or voices from a privileged position, are not the loudest voices. Justice requires that we amplify the voices of those who have been marginalized in the past. “
Their view seems to imply that those who believe that protecting green spaces is vital are “newer voices” or come from a “privileged position”, whatever that means. “Latest Votes” would rule out those of us who have lived on and around Park Hill Golf Course most of our lives.
In addition, the need and desire for open spaces extends across all racial and economic backgrounds. It is clear that the use of the word “privilege” is an emotional, inappropriate, and racially motivated appeal – the type that only serves to reinforce so many common stereotypes that have negatively impacted our culture. There is an implication that blacks have no use for and that natural space would not serve.
It should also be made clear that the Holleran Group will make a lot of money developing this country. Because of this, the motivation for her piece is clear – her own financial interests. And that’s okay. But it is fair to ask whether they are more interested in the community or in their own economic interests.
The Holleran Group has no significant development experience. It is a new entity that was formed just to take this opportunity to represent Westside Investment Partners. With more experience, they would know that developing 155 acres of land alone will not end gang violence nor solve the complex problem of the unhoused. Affordable housing will not appear miraculously, nor will it be a sudden economic boost. On the contrary, the open space has kept the neighborhood affordable.
After all, the land is currently protected by a conservation measure that prohibits any development unless it is overturned by a court order. This highly controversial development plan is a human and civil rights issue. Lifting the conservation measure to allow the development of valuable open spaces will not increase community resilience and viability, nor will it increase the economic strength of current and long-term residents. However, it will add to the further gentrification of the neighborhood and contribute to ongoing environmental inequalities in that community.
While the Holleran Group presents a full picture of what it and Westside could do, it only takes a quick look back at previous Westside Investment Partners projects to see what promises have been made and which promises have been broken.
We cannot afford this game of chance with our largest and last piece of protected space in Denver.
Penfield Tate, III is an attorney who has served in the House and Senate Legislative Divisions for the Land of Park Hill Golf Course for over six years. Hailing from northeast Denver, Tash Mitchell works with the community to authentically connect with nature and the outdoors in meaningful ways.
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