(CBS4) – It’s being billed as the next Denver Mountain Park, the first in 80 years, but not everyone living near Axton Ranch, which is in the process of being donated, is looking forward to a public park in their backyard.
“450 acres goes right up this mountain here,” Joel Furnace pointed to land behind Axton Ranch.READ MORE: Park Hill Residents Cautious About Safe Outdoor Space For Homeless During Public Meeting
The ranch sits on beautiful land, and that’s part of the reason why Denver Mayor Michael Hancock thinks it would make a great place for a new mountain park.
“We have the Gross Dam expansion, it’s going to bring a dump truck up every 6 minutes… Now you’re going to add a park,” Furnace said.
The Furnaces live down the road from Axton Ranch, and they oppose the plans as they stand so far.
“Elk Meadows is an area that was going to be a conservation park, and it had small single line trails now it’s a like a two lane highway,” Furnace added.
A flyer from the Axton Family mentions they want to keep the area preserved for all Colorado residents to visit. That would bring in a considerable amount of traffic to the area.
“They’re literally trying to put a campground in my backyard,” Jessica Gregg said.READ MORE: District Attorney's Office Calls For Official Review Of Controversial Arrest Of Karen Garner
Some who live nearby felt blindsided by the news as they found out two weeks ago.
“And unfortunately they haven’t included the community in any way in those discussions,” she said.
Jessica Gregg and her family on are the backside of the ranch.
“People get pretty lost apparently it seems,” she told CBS4.
Gregg has caught people trespassing and cutting down trees, so another big concern is “who will enforce all the rules and police everything?”
“To me I don’t know what the sense of urgency is for this, this ranch has been here for 80 years pausing it for a couple of months to get some of those discussions and the studies done to make sure it’s right for the community and all the people in Colorado,” Paula Furnace said.
CBS4reached out to the City of Denver and its Parks and Recreations Department sent us a statement saying, “DPR intends to manage Axton Ranch as a conservation area meaning that we will be prioritizing open space, forest, wildlife and resource protection, and limiting the development of facilities and public access and recreation so that those values and resources are protected. You can learn more about our Mountain Parks System and conservation areas by clicking here. That said, we realize that the Axton Family’s desire to have Denver protect and steward their property has raised questions within the surrounding communities and we are working to ensure that those community voices are heard. Prior to closing on the donation, there will be opportunities for interested parties to provide public comment and feedback on the donation and we will be sure to let you and other residents know of those opportunities. These opportunities for public comment and feedback would be in addition to any applicable land use approvals and public process required by Jefferson and Gilpin Counties. Conversations with both the community and government entities will occur over the next several months. After Denver closes on the donation and we complete a full assessment and inventory of the property’s resources, and prior to any final management and use decisions on matters that could affect your community are made, we will again be engaging our neighbors to develop a long-term master plan for Axton Ranch.”MORE NEWS: I-70 Partially Closed Between Morrison & Silverthorne For Snowy Conditions
The resolution to approve a proposed real estate donation agreement between the City and County of Denver was approved in a block vote Monday night.