You may have heard about a ballot initiative filed by SOS Denver that recently made the 2021 Denver ballot, to silence the voice of the Northeast Park Hill Community. When this ballot title was filed, the community was (and continues to be) in the midst of engaging in a visioning process with the City of Denver to determine how best to use the space to meet the neighborhood’s needs.
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 visioning process for 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, essentially giving the rest of the city veto power over Northeast Park Hill and what they may want to see this space become for the community.
The Empower Northeast Denver campaign, made up of Park Hill community members, has now formed to file a counter-ballot initiative. This ballot initiative is only in reaction to SOS’s misleading measure filed, by a group of citizens who largely don’t even live near the property, to silence the voice of an entire community.
The Northeast Park Hill Neighborhood has faced disenfranchisement and disinvestment for decades. A community-led reimagining of the Park Hill Golf Course could help local residents address affordable housing needs, provide economic opportunity, create a grocery store for fresh, healthy foods, and create park space. We don’t let Cherry Creek residents decide what communities in Five Points need or people in the Highlands determine what’s needed in Montbello. True equity requires that we not allow the majority to silence marginalized communities. We should be empowering local area neighborhoods to lead the process, not silencing their voices and taking away their choice.
The Denver County Clerk recently announced that the Empower Northeast Denver initiative made the November Denver ballot. If this 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 community and the voices of Northeast Park Hill will lead this process. We don’t have to have winners and losers. We can all work together to build something better for the next generation