After a nine-month selection process, park officials have a recommendation for Denver City Council as to who should lead City Park Golf Course’s redesign.
The proposed team of developers and architects is set to go before the city’s Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday with a full vote from Council coming later this summer. Forming the team tees up the city to add a new clubhouse, an 18-hole Parkland style course with par 71 and other improvements to City Park Golf Course starting later this year, according to a news release sent Thursday.
Denver Parks and Recreation is recommending Englewood-based Saunders Construction, one of the partners on the Dairy Block and other major projects around town; West Virginia-based Aspen Corp., a national builder of golf courses; Hale Irwin, professional golfer and golf design advisor; Broomfield-based iConGolf, a golf course focused architecture studio; and Denver-based Johnson Nathan Strohe, architecture firm behind Crawford Hotel at Denver Union Station and other notable projects in the area.
“The identification of a recommended City Park Golf Course Redesign team is a significant milestone in this important project,” said Happy Haynes, executive director of Denver Parks and Recreation.
“The proposal developed by the Saunders design/build team will allow the city to deliver a project that reduces flood risks in nearby neighborhoods, while ensuring City Park Golf Course continues to be one of Denver’s crown jewels for years to come,” Haynes said.
The century-old golf course is being redesigned as part of the Platte to Park Hill flood control system, which is itself much contested due to its connection to the I-7o widening. There’s a lawsuit over the use of the golf course to store flood water during major rain events and another lawsuit over how the flood control project was or was not analyzed as part of the environmental impact study for I-70.
The Cultural Landscape Foundation has designated the golf course as “threatened” because the city is changing its historic design. The city says this description of the project isn’t warranted. It’s become common around the country for golf courses to be used as part of stormwater management systems, and the city has said it will protect the golf course in the process.
“At an estimated $40 million, the redesign will seamlessly integrate stormwater detention into the course and provide critical flood control to the surrounding community. The updated design will preserve the best features of the current course and retain the traditional Parkland style, look and feel of City Park Golf Course, along with modernized amenities that will be enjoyed by neighbors and golfers alike for generations to come,” according to the press release.
The public will have an opportunity to weigh in on the redesign plans in coming months. Pre-construction activities, such as utility relocations, are expected to start this fall with course construction beginning in late 2017. City Park Golf Course is expected to remain open through the 2017 golf season, close in 2018 and reopen in 2019.
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