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Reader: Park Hill Is Just Another Denver Neighborhood Being Destroyed

Former mayor Wellington Webb speaks in favor of preserving the conservation easement.
Former mayor Wellington Webb speaks in favor of preserving the conservation easement.
Sara Fleming
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The battle over the future of Park Hill Golf Course heated up when developer Westside Investments bought it in July, and it's not likely to settle down for years. Westside is trying to figure out a legal route to remove a conservation easement that currently prohibits development on the 155-acre property, to the chagrin of a group of residents who would rather see the land remain open space. Specifically, a golf course, as dictated by that easement.

But the future of the now-closed golf course is not the only question facing this historic Denver neighborhood. Park Hill (which is really three statistical neighborhoods as defined by the U.S. Census — northeast, north and south Park Hill) — is experiencing rapid gentrification and displacement, especially impacting African-Americans. Here's what readers have to say about Park Hill, and our recent coverage:

Says Leslie:

Thank you for shedding more light on a very complex issue. I’m so disappointed that our mayor chose to give this land to a for-profit developer.

Responds Zachariah:

Screw you, Mayor Wellington Webb! Way to turn against your own! *crawls back under rock*

Explains Paul:

Park Hill is just another Denver neighborhood that is getting destroyed! The city has done it to other neighborhoods, so what makes you think the city and its developers are gonna stop? It’s more money and more people! Welcome to the new Denver!!

Argues Alex:

Park Hill was already gentrified. There was never anything to gentrify. In other news, the sky is blue.

Park Hill has long presented itself as a beacon of racial harmony — a diverse, integrated and accepting neighborhood, touted as an example for the nation. Through the community organization Park Hill Action Committee, residents fought "blockbusting" practices (in which real estate developers sought to profit off of "white flight"), seeking instead to become an integrated neighborhood. But Park Hill’s integration was not equal throughout. The southern part of the neighborhood has always been whiter and wealthier than the rest.

Now, though the three statistical neighborhoods in greater Park Hill have each developed their own demographics and identities, they are all becoming whiter. Since 2000, north Park Hill has gone from being 56 percent black to 30 percent black. And northeast Park Hill has gone from being 68.5 percent black to only 43 percent black. (Hispanics are the next biggest demographic in the area, making up about 25 percent of northeast Park Hill residents.)

The statistics tell an all too familiar story: Park Hill is gentrifying. Though many black residents of Park Hill are homeowners, not renters, they still may be vulnerable to displacement.

What do you think about the developments in Park Hill? Post a comment, or email your thoughts to editorial@westword.com.

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