The March Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation (INC) meeting was a full-day event. The monthly gathering of delegates from the City of Denver’s Registered Neighborhood Groups (RNO) took place March 10 at …
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The March Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation (INC) meeting was a full-day event. The monthly gathering of delegates from the City of Denver’s Registered Neighborhood Groups (RNO) took place March 10 at the Park Hill Congregational Church. The agenda included two lively community forums and INC officer elections.
When it was announced in December 2017 that an exploratory committee had been appointed by Mayor Michael Hancock to explore the possibility of bringing the Olympics to Colorado in 2030, the decision to exclude the public was met with criticism.
Panelists at the March 10 INC Olympic Community Forum included former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm. Photo by Kevin Ryan.
INC invited six panelists to a community forum to convey the different perspectives of pursuing an Olympic bid. Jerome Davis, Steve McConahey and Rob Cohen represented the exploratory committee. At the other end of the table, Kyle Zepplin, Chris Dempsey and former Governor Dick Lamb represented a voice of opposition.
Rob Cohen, chair of the exploratory committee, opened by expressing that the committee’s job is to explore whether an Olympic bid, should the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) ask, is right for Denver. Cohen ensured attendees that the committee is listening to the concerns of Coloradans, especially around the financial and economic performance of past Olympic games, venues and infrastructure, and social issues.
Steve McConahey claimed the committee is looking at options to fund the games privately. “The primary goal of our plan is to not require any subsidies or guarantees by the state or local governments,” something he said has not been done before. In order to further clarify a privately funded games, McConahey said they “will not provide dividends or returns on investment.”
Chris Dempsey painted a different picture, calling the Olympic bid process the “world’s most expensive auction.” Dempsey led the charge as the co-chair of the No Boston Olympics when his city submitted its’ bid for the 2024 Olympics in 2014. While Dempsey led with the statement that “it is not for me as a Bostonian to tell you whether the games are right for Denver,” the information he shared with attendees about Boston’s Olympic bid experience countered many of the ideas the exploratory committee referenced in their discussion.
While serving as Governor, Dick Lamm campaigned for a referendum in 1972, which allowed Colorado residents to vote down hosting the Olympics. Lamm pointed out that the same issues exist today around bringing the Olympics to Colorado as in 1972. He also asked, mess“will there be snow?” Lamm deferred to Coloradans, saying “a democracy makes up its’ mind with a vote.” Many attendees applauded when Lamm concluded, “We have a chance to go to the legislature and put this on the ballot in 2018, let’s vote.”
The exploratory committee is expected to make a recommendation to Mayor Hancock and Governor Hickenlooper in early May.
The INC determined candidates for president, vice president and delegates with nominations coming from the floor during the annual election meeting. Following nominations, a quorum of at least 20 delegates votes. The results of the election resulted in George Mayl returning as INC president and Loretta Koehler was approved to sit as vice president. Jane Potts, Maggie Price and Bridget Walsh were elected to fill the three vacant at-large delegate seats.
The Park Hill Golf Course, owned by Clayton Early Learning, had been leased to Arcis Equity Partners, LLC until the end of 2017. In September 2017, the City of Denver entered into a deal to purchase the 155-acre plot but pulled back due to a pending decision by Arcis to exercise a five-year lease renewal. Arcis has until June 30, 2018 to decide, during which time they have the right of first refusal to acquire Park Hill Golf Course land.
The City of Denver and Clayton did, however, negotiate an agreement in the fall of 2017 that would allow the city the right to install a 25-acre storm water detention facility as part of the Platte to Park Hill project. The project has some Denver residents accusing the City of being in cahoots with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to create infrastructure for the Central 70 Project.
The five-member panel included former attorney Brad Cameron, Clayton President and CEO Charlotte Brantley, Emeritus Professor Kathleen Wells and two Overlook at Park Hill residents. While attendees criticized the lack of a diverse panel, they did pose questions and suggestions, giving the indication that the community is open to development that incorporates open space, affordable housing options and even access to fresh food. Charlotte Brantley echoed the sentiment, stating, “We at Clayton see this as both, and not as a two-sided issue or an either/or.”
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