Author Archives: friendofowl

Supreme Court denies our Petition for Review

Dear Friends of Denver Parks,

The appeal of Friends of Denver Parks, Steve Waldstein, and Zelda Hawkins to require a vote of the people before trading away park land ended on April 25.  The Supreme Court denied our Petition for Review.  The Judgment of the Denver District Court is now final.  Joe Shoemaker Elementary School has been built on 11 acres of was once designated as natural area park land.

I wish to thank my clients Steve Waldstein and Zelda Hawkins, and the board members of Friends of Denver Parks (Renee Lewis, Dave Hill, Shawn Smith and Judy Case); Maggie Price, who created and maintains our web site; the witnesses who rode horses and enjoyed Hampden Heights North Park from 1938 through 2013, who testified in court, signed affidavits, and gave depositions; Larry Ambrose and members of INC; our friends in the media; and the hundreds of volunteers who circulated petitions and donors who contributed money to help defray deposition costs and filing fees.

For three years I was honored to represent ordinary citizens in a just cause against city government.  I learned sobering lessons, among them:

  1. Denver city officials are committed to high density development that will cause ever increasing stress on our existing parks, neighborhoods, roads, and way of life.
  1. Citizens cannot rely on state courts to hold Denver officials accountable.
  1. Recalling elected officials may be the only way to stop corrupt government practices.

Although the city and DPS prevailed in the lawsuit, Mother Nature someday may have the last word.  Cherry Creek Dam is a 141 foot high earth dam designed to collect water from the Cherry Creek basin and prevent downstream flooding. The dam retains water in the reservoir; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases water downstream into Cherry Creek through three tubes at the base of the dam.  In the event of a severe thunderstorm, the Corps must release enough water through the discharge tubes to prevent the reservoir water level from rising too fast.  If the reservoir water level rises so fast that water overtops the dam, the water will wash away the dirt on the back side of the dam, and the dam will undergo catastrophic failure.

When they built the new school, city and DPS officials assumed that flow through Cherry Creek would never exceed 5,000 cubic feet per second.  This assumption may be false. The elevation of the school foundation is one foot (12 inches) higher than the assumed maximum flow of 5,000 cubic feet per second. The Corps of Engineers currently is proposing to release up to 13,300 cubic feet per second through the discharge tubes in the event of a severe thunderstorm.  A summary of the study is available at http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Missions/WaterInformation/WaterControl/CherryCreekWCPM.aspx. If the Corps releases 13,300 cubic feet per second of water into Cherry Creek during a severe thunderstorm, Joe Shoemaker Elementary School probably will be flooded.  At this time there is no published engineering study that models what will happen to the school.

If the school is damaged by floodwater, would it make sense for DPS to sell the land back to Denver for use as a park?

John Case

EVANS CASE, LLP

Wrongful Death | Serious Injuries

Civil Trials | Appeals

With partners expert in Probate | Estate Planning | Real Estate | Business & Corporate | Divorce & Family

1660 S. Albion Street, Suite 1100, Denver, Colorado 80222

 

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Cherry Creek Dam Water Control Plan Modification Study

(HR) Cherry Creek Dam. Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

(HR)
Cherry Creek Dam.
Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

Monday, January 11, 2016 6:17 AM Subject: Cherry Creek Dam Water
Control Plan Modification Study – Public Meeting (January 26, 2016)

Good morning,

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District will hold a public meeting
on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 from 6-8pm to gather input on modifying the
Cherry Creek Dam Water Control Plan to release more water from the dam
during extreme flooding events. The meeting will be held at the King Center
Recital Hall on the Auraria Campus, 855 Lawrence Way, Denver, Colorado.
Vouchers will be provided for free parking in the 7th Street Parking Garage
located next to the King Center. The Tivoli Parking Garage will also be
available as free overflow parking
(http://www.ahec.edu/files/general/Parking-Map.pdf).

There will be a brief presentation at 6:30pm followed by a question and
answer session and an open house. During the open house, you will have an
opportunity to talk with Corps team members about the proposed Water Control
Plan modifications and provide your input on potential impacts. You will
also be able to speak with officials from the Denver Office of Emergency
Management Homeland Security to learn more about that agency’s mission to
protect public safety and find out more information about how to develop a
personal action plan in the event of an emergency.

Input on the proposed Cherry Creek Water Control Plan modifications may be
submitted at the public meeting, emailed to kathryn.j.seefus@usace.army.mil
or mailed to: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District; CENWO-ED-HA;
ATTN: Katie Seefus; 1616 Capitol Avenue; Omaha, NE 68102-4901. Comments on the study must be postmarked or received by February 26, 2016.

For more information about the Cherry Creek Dam Project area, visit
www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Media/NewsReleases/tabid/1835/Article/642063/cherry-creek-dam-water-control-plan-modification-study-public-meeting-scheduled.aspx.

Please feel free to share this invitation with anyone who might be
interested in attending.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Salak
Outreach Specialist
Planning Branch
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District
1616 Capitol Avenue
Omaha, NE 68102
402-995-2680

Friends of Denver Parks file petition for certiorari in the Colorado Supreme Court on October 28, 2015

day.in.courtFriends of Denver Parks, Steve Waldstein and Zelda Hawkins filed their petition for certiorari in the Colorado Supreme Court on October 28, 2015. The basis for the petition is that the Colorado Court of Appeals failed to follow Colorado Supreme Court precedent when it affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of our case without allowing witnesses to testify in a public trial.

2015-1028 Petition for Writ of Certiorari.FINAL

2015-1028 Appendices to Cert Petition pt 1

2015-1028 Appendices to Cert Petition pt 2

2015-1028 Appendices to Cert Petition pt 3

The witnesses, which include not only private citizens, but also former city officials and employees, would have testified that Hampden Heights North Parks was designated with other parks by the Charter amendment in 1956, and was confirmed as a park with the 1996 Charter amendment.

Even though DPS has built a school in what used to be a park and natural area, petitioners are pressing the case forward so that, when the school is flooded by Cherry Creek or outlives its useful life after 40 years, the land can be returned to its rightful status as a public park, held in perpetuity for the citizens of Denver.

Thanks to all our friends for their continuing support.

John Case

EVANS CASE, LLP

Wrongful Death | Serious Injuries

Civil Trials | Appeals

With partners expert in Probate | Estate Planning | Real Estate | Business & Corporate | Divorce & Family

1660 S. Albion Street, Suite 1100, Denver, Colorado 80222

Phone|303-757-8300     Fax|303-753-0444   Web| www.evanscase.com