Activists held an end-of-life vigil for doomed trees, a somber protest that marks a new dimension for activism around this project.
As dusk fell on Sunday evening, a handful of Denverites who oppose the City Park Golf Course redevelopment plan gathered to mourn for the 230 trees that are marked for removal. They lit candles despite blustering winds and carried flowers to the doomed trees, some of which are very large and old. Construction on the course is set to begin on Nov. 1.
Councilman Rafael Espinoza sought a delay in approving the contracts, but his motion failed 6-7, with Gilmore casting one of the no votes.
A former Denver City Council member has filed an ethics complaint against Councilwoman Stacie Gilmore after she voted against a delay in several contracts related to the renovation of City Park Golf Course to accommodate floodwater. Stacie Gilmore is married to Scott Gilmore, deputy executive director for Denver Parks and Rec, a position that is a mayoral appointment.
There are four lawsuits playing out in local and federal courts that touch on the project in some way, two of them focused on a related drainage project, Platte to Park Hill, and two of them focused on air quality issues and the impact to the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood through which I-70 runs.
Contracts to reconfigure City Park Golf Course are likely to be approved Aug. 14. A lawsuit to stop the project goes to trial Aug. 21.
Update: Denver City Council voted 10-3 on Monday, Aug. 14, to approve all three contracts. Council members Rafael Espinoza, Paul Kashmann and Debbie Ortega voted no. Council members who voted in favor of a delay and then in favor of the contracts said defeating the contracts would not stop the I-70 expansion and would amount to granting the plaintiffs an injunction that the courts have not granted.
In two weeks, there will be a trial about the use of City Park Golf Course for stormwater detention. In one week, Denver City Council will vote on — and likely approve — two contracts worth $51 million to design and construct the flood control project that plaintiffs allege violates the city charter.