Denver Parks & Open Space

Denver Parks & Open Space

Denver Parks & Open Space 150 150 lisafordenver

The three pillars of my campaign are fairness, equity and justice. Our legacy as a city in a park speaks to these values. Our parks are accessible places to all residents; in them, we are one people. Ensuring that all corners of Denver, regardless of income and zip code, have fair and equitable access to high-quality parks space is not only just, but it ensures a sustainable and resilient future for our city. Current city policy allows big developers to turn our neighborhoods into “concrete boxes,” cutting down trees and increasing traffic congestion; this creates poorer health outcomes for Denver’s residents. It’s time for a new generation of aspirational parks expansion planning and adaptive reuse of urban land to that end, especially near our transit station areas that we have targeted for significant population growth. We must give more consideration to parks and public gathering ahead of redevelopment discussions.

By working together, Denver can be a model for how residents, service providers, business owners and city leaders can create housing for all and improve community well-being. A great city isn’t just measured by its wealth, but how it cares for those in need.

As mayor, I will:

  • Seek to design healthy community ecosystems, with the participation of community members at all stages of planning and implementation, that enable all of us to lead healthier lives. We must apply a holistic approach to environmental sustainability that encompasses the natural environment, mental and physical well-being, and addresses the health inequity gap.
  • Expand green space requirements in new high-density developments. The current zoning land-use requirement for General Development Plans  (GDPs) says that 5% of the total site “developable” land area must be designed/planned as publicly accessible open space. I feel that this is inadequate for  Denver’s “City in a Park” image and legacy. The open space requirement should be changed to require a minimum of 15% of total site area to be publicly accessible open space.
  • Create administrative incentives for landscaped areas, such as green roofs, vegetated walls, and pocket parks and playgrounds by increasing the required areas of open space in all three dimensions.
  • Direct my administration to use standards set by the National Parks and Recreation Association as a baseline, with the goal of increasing our parkland to 10 acres per 1,000 people, and require parkland dedication be consistent with that metric.
  • Support an ordinance moving open space zoning from the Executive Director of Parks back to City Council. The Director of Parks & Recreation and the Parks Advisory Board should have an advisory role in zoning decisions, but major decisions about regulatory oversight of parks should involve decision makers who are directly accountable to the taxpayers. The city charter requires a vote of the people to alter the boundaries of a dedicated park. I will seek the dedication of more parkland so that decisions about the disposition of parks are made directly by a vote of the people. I will also seek to broaden the scope of activities in parks that require a vote of the people.