DENVER (CBS4) – The City of Denver is just weeks away from breaking ground on a controversial redesign of a nationally recognized historic golf course.
Protesters showed up Saturday at the second of two final public meetings before construction begins in November at City Park Golf Course.
About 260 trees have been marked for removal at the course, which is home to 850 trees.
Protesters hope their lawsuit and their voices will put a stop to the planned redesign.
“It’s a travesty,” said Henry Dubroff, a frequent golfer at the course. “It’s throwing away Denver’s birthright.”
“The community actually came together and raised over $100,000 to stop this project. That’s what the community is saying,” said Rachel Garfield, who lives nearby.
Denver is weeks away from a year-and-a-half shutdown to redesign the golf course for storm water management. Northside neighbors have long suffered from flooding during heavy rainfall.
“We’re in an area of town that does not have sufficient infrastructure for storm water. We have a system of improvements that we’re putting in to protect lives and property,” said Nancy Kuhn, spokeswoman with Denver Public Works.
“The question is, are we going to lose 260 trees and have them replaced with some tiny trees for a storm water project for a highway expansion,” said Aaron Goldhamer, an attorney representing citizens who are opposed to the golf course redesign.
Goldhamer also represents groups who are opposed to a project to expand and lower Interstate 70. Goldhamer believes that the interstate project is the driving force behind the reworking of City Park Golf Course.
“It’s going to be a real shame to see it get torn up in the way it’s being proposed, at enormous cost. $45 million for this project,” Goldhamer said.
Others, like longtime golfer Jennifer Bater, think the benefits will outweigh the cost.
“To have a full-size driving range is fantastic,” Bater said. “The clubhouse design is beautiful.”
“The views there of the skyline and the mountain range are unparalleled in the city. So it will be definitely a hotspot for the community,” said Scott Rethlake, Director of Golf for the City of Denver.
Project staff said that when the project is complete, the golf course will be home to more trees than it was before.
Along with the removal, the contractor will be planting 750 new trees, resulting in a net gain of close to 500 trees.