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Stormwater detention proposal would level 1/3 of City Park Golf Course, including clubhouse

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DENVER — The City and County of Denver is working on plans to protect North City Park from the flooding that has often plagued the neighborhood, and the severe flooding that might significantly impact the neighborhood in the event of a 100-year storm.

But it may come at the expense of one of the neighborhood’s most historic and utilized landmarks, the City Park Golf Course.

Speaking in front of a packed room in the lauded golf course clubhouse that, somewhat ironically, this project might threaten, city officials spoke in early January about the importance of detaining and directing stormwater within North Denver’s naturally existing drainage basins and historic waterways.

As of late January, the two options that remained on the table included 1) a redesign of City Park Golf Course to accommodate a large stormwater retention cell and 2) the potential creation of a detention cell in the Cole neighborhood north of North City Park.

Project management officials were scheduled to attend the North City Park Civic Association’s (NCPCA) monthly general meeting on Jan. 26. The meeting will be held at Barrett Elementary School at 6:30 p.m.

In addition to improvements in drainage and flood protection, city officials say this project could also include opportunities for phased community improvements, such as treating the stormwater that makes its way into the South Platte River, the creation of new green space in and around North City Park, and potential additions to the City Park Golf Course (should that option be selected).

Among proposed additions to the golf course design are a walking path that would improve the North City Park neighborhood’s access to City Park itself and the Denver Zoo, as well as a sledding hill that could be incorporated into the re-grading plans.

But the project wouldn’t come without significant costs.

If the Cole neighborhood detention option is advanced, among the more significant trade-offs would be the need to purchase private property, with city officials seeking to buy out over 40 property owners — some against their will.

If the City Park Golf Course option is advanced, the new detention cell could take up the western third of the golf course property, which, under the current proposal, would require the demolition of the taxpayer-financed golf course clubhouse (the construction of which was completed in 2002).

Other downsides of the City Park Golf Course proposal could include be the obstruction of the golf course’s striking views of the Denver skyline due to significant re-grading, the uprooting of historic trees and the influx of unsavory stormwater into an open-air detention area.

For its part, city officials insist the detention cell would be a site where pollutants in the stormwater runoff, which is later funneled into the South Platte River, could be treated.

But the primary purpose of the project, city officials have indicated, would be to mitigate flooding in North Denver — particularly flooding that could come from a massive 100-year storm.

The project seeks to correct issues created by the naturally occurring Montclair and Park Hill basins, which create and increase the water flow through the neighborhoods in North Denver. The detention area was proposed by the city in light of an inability to change those two landscapes, both of which feature a substantial amount of urban development.

City officials have also given guarantees that if the City Park Golf Course detention cell proposal is advanced, the existence of the 18-hole, par-72 golf course would not be threatened.

RELATED: Read the City of Denver’s stormwater detention cell proposal

Can’t make the NCPCA meeting on Jan. 26? Below is a list of times the project managers will be meeting with other neighborhood associations. Visit the Denver Department of Public Works website for more details about these meetings.

  • Jan 27: GLO Community Meeting
  • Feb 4: Greater Park Hill
  • Feb 11: Cole Neighborhood Association
  • Feb 16: CPNAC
  • Mid-Feb: Cole Community Meeting
  • Mid-Feb: CPGAB
  • Mid-Feb: Clayton United
  • Early March: City Park West
  • March: Public Meeting #2
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