A project that would regrade the western portion of the Denver, Colo., golf course to create a deeper storm detention area is expected to begin in late 2017 and keep the course closed until 2019. Opponents of the drainage plans argue that the golf course project is an affront to a prized urban green space that threatens to uproot 150 to 280 trees.
Three golf design firms will compete to redesign City Park Golf Course in Denver, Colo., the Denver Post reported.
City departments that are spearheading the controversial Platte to Park Hill storm drainage projects announced the narrowing of a field of likely design and construction bid teams from nine to three. A plan to regrade the western portion of the golf course to create a deeper storm detention area is one of four major projects, and construction is expected to close the course from late 2017 to 2019, the Post reported.
To opponents of the drainage plans, including parks advocates, the golf course project is an affront to a prized urban green space that threatens to uproot 150 to 280 trees and relocate the clubhouse, the Post reported.
But some golfers have argued the project offers a chance for a much-needed redesign that could incorporate the drainage area into a fresher layout. Denver Parks and Recreation and the Public Works department have collected design suggestions from the public and plan to host another community open house in the next month, the Post reported.
The likely bid teams, which the city will invite to respond to a formal request for proposals in mid-January, are Landscapes Unlimited and Robert Trent Jones II; Saunders Construction and iCon Golf Studio; and SEMA Construction and DYE Designs, the Post reported.
The overarching Platte to Park Hill project is aimed at improving flood protection mostly for areas north of City Park, as storm runoff makes its way toward the South Platte River, at a cost estimated at $267 million to $298 million. The golf course’s detention area would be dry most of the time, the city says, but during heavy storms it would capture runoff and release it slowly, the Post reported.
A selection panel made up of city staff, community members, and golf and technical experts narrowed the list of teams that expressed formal interest in the project, the Post reported.
“City Park Golf Course is one of the city’s most beloved and enjoyable golf courses,” Parks and Recreation executive director Happy Haynes said in a release. “The talent and experience represented on these teams will ensure that City Park Golf Course continues to be one of Denver’s crown jewels for years to come.”
As it proceeds with the project, the city is fighting a lawsuit aimed at derailing the golf course plans. J.D. MacFarlane, Colorado’s attorney general from 1975 to 1982, contends in part that the storm detention plan would convert a designated park to non-park uses without a vote of the people, violating the city charter. The lawsuit cleared its first major legal hurdle in November, the Post reported.
The storm drainage projects’ connection to the state’s plan to widen Interstate 70 and lower the highway below grade also has drawn controversy, the Post reported.