History of the Park Hill Golf Club
The Park Hill Golf Club has a long and controversial history. The land was originally owned by George W Clayton a prominent businessman and civic leader. Upon his passing in 1899, most of his $2 million estate was left to the City of Denver in the form of a trust.
The trust was to fund a permanent college for poor orphaned white boys. As a result, the city constructed a campus on Martin Luther King Blvd and Colorado Blvd. This campus served many underprivileged white boys and later expanded its support to all ethnicities who they still serve today.
Just north of the school on the other side of Colorado was another parcel of land which operated as a dairy farm. The boys received an agricultural education here until the city converted it into the Park Hill Golf Club in 1932. The city operated the swanky club until 1985 when it transferred the property to Clayton Early Learning who signed a 20-year lease with a golf management company a few years later.
In 1989, the city raised $2 million from a bond issue to purchase the Park Hill Golf Course, but it was not enough money. As a result, in 2017, the city paid the Clayton Early Learning organization the money in exchange for an easement which would limit the property’s uses.
In 2018, the lease ended. Clayton Early Learning center sold the Park Hill Golf Club for $24 million to Westside Investment Partners. Meanwhile, with the easement still in place, Westside Investment Partners may not develop it. Additionally, the city took some of the land at the beginning of 2019 to construct a wastewater treatment plant.
Strolling the Course
Naturally, the community is up in arms about what should be done with the 155 acres of land. During all this turmoil, however, the public may use the paths on the fenced off golf course. While visitors must park across the street offsite, the open space is free to stroll. And amazingly, hardly anyone uses it.
I suppose the area is not quite as safe as other parts of Denver, but there is private security guard stationed in the parking lot and much of the area is fenced off. Consequently, a daytime walk is quite nice especially for breaking a leash law with an energetic dog.
Annie and I visited the Park Hill Golf Club just before sunset and saw approximately eight people. Of the eight, we only passed one person on the same path. While I leashed Annie when she approached, the rest of the time Annie got to race around like the crazy dog she is.
Park Hill Golf Club is currently a hidden gem and should remain so at least until the construction is complete on the wastewater treatment plant. After that, the land will probably get stuck in some more legal battles.
It could end up being anything from another golf course, a homeless camp, or a multi-use development with at least 60 acres of open space. Given the City Park Golf Course is a mile away, I vote for the latter to improve the area. Especially since the surrounding residents aren’t avid golfers.
But while the Park Hill Golf Club remains in limbo, I’ll take advantage of another unpopulated open space where Annie can run around while I nurse my knee. ETB
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