Category Archives: Park Advocates

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

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Joe Shoemaker School Dedicated Today on Former Open-Space Site

 Mayor Michael B. Hancock tours the new school.

 

Think the wheels of justice turn slowly? At 10 a.m. today, Denver Public Schools will dedicate the Joe Shoemaker School, an elementary school that opened last month as the Hampden Heights Expeditionary School at 3333 South Havana Street, at the edge of southeast Denver. Meanwhile, a request to return nine acres of land beneath that school to the City of Denver is still in the Court of Appeals.

Construction of the school started in January 2014 on property that that had been part of the Hampden Heights Open Space, next to Paul A. Hentzell Park. That land was swapped by Denver with DPS in a complicated 2013 deal that also involved DPS turning over a building at 1330 Fox Street, which is becoming the Rose Andom domestic-violence resource center. Although a majority of the members of a parks advisory board had opposed the move, the city’s then parks-director overrode that vote, paving the way for Denver City Council to approve the deal in April 2013.

Opponents of the deal claimed that the Hampden Heights property was officially a park, having been used as open space since before 1956, and so under the city charter could not be released byDenver without an election; they organized as Friends of Denver Parks to fight the action in court.

After a loss in Denver District Court where the judge upheld the “less than transparent land swap,” the group took its case to the Colorado Court of Appeals, where it had had a date on September 1. Given that the school was already up and running, Chief Appeals Judge Alan Loeb asked John Case, attorney for Friends of Denver Parks and a resident of the area, what the group wanted: “This isn’t about today or tomorrow — it’s about forty years from now, when parks land is even more scarce for an increasing population than it is today,” Case told the judge.

Joe Shoemaker certainly recognized how important parks land was to the population — and ensured that Denver had plenty to enjoy. A legislator who founded the Greenway Foundation in 1974, he pushed to transform the South Platte River from the stinking mess it had become to a true amenity for Denver and surrounding areas.

Shoemaker, a longtime supporter of the education as well as the environment, passed away in 2012…before the more recent stink over the property transfer that made the Joe Shoemaker School possible.

Our battle to preserve Hampden Heights North Park takes place in the Colorado Court of Appeals next Tuesday September 1, 2015

Mayor_9_7_13_001

Dear Friends of Denver Parks,

Oral argument in our battle to preserve Hampden Heights North Park takes place in the Colorado Court of Appeals next Tuesday September 1, 2015 between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. The hearing is at 2 West 14th Ave. in Denver (Lincoln and E. 14th Ave.)

Many of you have asked why we keep fighting.  DPS has constructed an elementary school on the 11 acres that will open within days.

We are fighting because if we win, ultimately we can return the land to the ownership of the citizens of Denver.  After the school has outlived its useful life in 20-40 years, DPS and the City can restore the 11 acres to natural area park land as part of Paul A. Hentzell Park for the use of future generations.

Each side is allowed fifteen minutes to present its argument.  Our proceeding will last ½ hour.

There is another case on the 1:30 docket with us, we won’t know until 1:30 p.m. which case will be heard first.

For those of you who wish to attend in person, oral argument will take place in the beautiful new courtroom on the First Floor of the Court of Appeals.

It is helpful to be in the Courtroom by 1:25 p.m., so that your entrance does not distract the three appellate judges who will hear the arguments and decide our case.

The three judge panel will consist of Senior Judge Sandra I. Rothenberg, Judge Steve Bernard, and Judge Stephanie Dunn.

The First Floor Courtroom has excellent acoustics.  There are comfortable benches with close-up visibility for 60 observers.

There is meter parking on Lincoln northbound between 13th Ave and 14th Ave.  There is meter parking on Broadway southbound between 14th and 13th Ave.  There is a paid parking lot at 13th and Broadway. Please allow 15 minutes to get into the First Floor Courtroom after parking your car.

Usually, the Court of Appeals issues a written decision within 4 weeks of oral argument.

If you cannot attend in person, you can watch oral argument on-line by following the instructions below.

  1.  Go to this page at the appointed date and time (9/1 at 1:30 p.m.)
  2.   Click on the link that says “Court of Appeals First Floor.” The link won’t be active until the court is actually in session. These things start late sometimes, so people should keep trying if the link isn’t active right at 1:30.
  3. Watch the argument.

There is another case scheduled at the same time as ours, so the Friends case may not be argued until 2:00 p.m. or so.

Thanks to all of you who have supported Friends of Denver Parks.

John Case
EVANS CASE, LLPDPS Notice