Mayor Hancock announced that property adjacent to Red Rocks Park would be officially designated parkland. [Read press release as pdf.] The announcement was made at the dedication of the Red Rocks National Historic Landmark Wednesday night, July 15, on the 75th anniversary of the original dedication of Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
“At a time when Red Rocks, the jewel of our Mountain Parks system, becomes immortalized in the history of the United States, there’s no more fitting tribute to its legacy in Denver than expanding the experience for residents and visitors,” Mayor Hancock said. “This designation will ensure that even more of the natural landscapes that make this such a distinguished and cherished park will be protected for generations to come.”
Former Mayor Wellington Webb sent a letter outlining the history of the properties acquired by the City in 2000. Four properties, totaling 193 acres, were acquired. Now, after a 16-year wait, one property has been designated as parkland. Formal designation, a result of a 1955 charter amendment, means that use and development of the property will be as parkland, and the property cannot be sold unless city voters approve a change. Webb wrote in support of the designation in March 2003:
The property to be designated, known as the Bradley trade parcel, is 98 acres out of the 193 acres acquired in May 2000 and has significant natural values, including native vegetation, wildlife habitat, and rich geology and history, as well as its position as a scenic buffer for the park.
As Denver’s mayor from 1991-2003, it was my privilege to embrace Mayor Speer’s vision and carry it into the 21st century. Wherever we could my administration added to and expanded our city’s parkland as opportunities became available.
Red Rocks offered one of those opportunities. … The prospect of an increasing population in the valley would have potentially impacted amphitheatre operations. We saw a once in a lifetime chance to preserve open space near the park and seized an opportunity to acquire the 193 acres.
The addition lies east of the current park boundary and south of Entrance 2. The remaining three properties, which are still undesignated, are north of Entrance 2, as shown in red. See complete map.
Denver Parks and Recreation is beginning trail planning for the area. We hope, in the face of increasing threats to the park from the expansion of Amphitheatre operations, development in this new area will be sensitive to preserving the natural values and character of the property.