Week delay for golf redesign
Two weeks before a trial is set to begin in the legal challenge of a redesign of City Park Golf Course, the Denver City Council on Monday squabbled over whether to delay $51 million in contracts for the project.
Councilman Rafael Espinoza, an opponent of a plan to install a stormwater detention area on the course’s western third as part of the city’s controversial Platte to Park Hill storm drainage plan, exercised the ability for a single council member to trigger a one-time, oneweek delay of a contract.
He first had sought a pause as long as three weeks by saying he aimed to gain more assurance in the main contract that no trees would be removed from the golf course until the trial and any appeals play out. But council members including Albus Brooks, Jolon Clark and Chris Herndon warned against letting the filers of lawsuits dictate when city projects move forward.
Ultimately, Espinoza changed his motion to a two-week delay for the golf course contracts, along with a $7.6 million contract for another drainage project. The council shot down his motion 7-6 — making approval for the contracts likely when they come up for votes again Aug. 14.
Also supporting Espinoza’s failed motion for a twoweek delay were Kevin Flynn, Paul Kashmann, Paul López, Wayne New and Debbie Ortega.
A four-day trial is set to begin Aug. 21 in Denver District Court in a case brought by a group of Denver residents who contend that the City Park Golf Course drainage plan violates the city charter and the zoning code.
Next week, the council will consider a $44.9 million, three-year contract with a team that includes architect/designer iConGolf Studio, Saunders Construction and Aspen Corp.
A separate, $6 million contract with Parsons Transportation Group covers management of that project and a related set of drainage projects in Park Hill. The council also will consider a $7.6 million contract with Flatiron Constructors for that Park Hill work, which includes installing sewer pipes along Dahlia Street north and south of Interstate 70.
“The plaintiffs think it is putting the cart before the horse to approve the expenditure … before there’s been a determination of whether the project can legally proceed,” said attorney Aaron Goldhamer, who filed the lawsuit last year. “It’s unclear if the city simply doesn’t care to wait a few weeks for the court before committing public funds, or wants to wave around an approved contract in the lawsuit, or both.”
But city attorneys told the council that they were confident they would prevail in the trial.