Douglas County Commissioner says Daniels Park up for grabs, Hancock denies contact | Colorado Politics

Daniels Park is still up for grabs, according to a Douglas County commissioner who said he plans to meet with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock about taking over the iconic Mile High City property.

But Hancock is out of office this week and has not heard from Douglas County Commissioner George Teal, according to Denver Communications Director Theresa Marchetta.

“He had no contact with him. None,” Marchetta said.

Teal spoke with at least one Denver City Council member about the issue. Candi CdeBaca told The Denver Gazette that she and Teal spoke last week.

Beneath the property fight is speculation that Teal mentioned the land seizure in retaliation for an ordinance banning the concealed carry of firearms in parks that Denver approved for its buildings and parks last month.

A recent post that appears to have been written by Teal on a conservative Facebook page stated that he was considering using county eminent domain powers to “seize the park from Daniel (sic) of the city and county of Denver at the light of their recent rulings that affect our constitutional rights guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment.

The Denver Gazette received a screenshot of the message from Douglas County Commissioner Lora Thomas. Last week, the group voted 2-1 to consider what it would take to take over the park. Thomas was the only dissenter.

The Denver City Council’s vote on hidden carry was also not unanimous. Three of the 12 council members, including CdeBaca, voted against the ban because they felt there was no need to ban concealed carry in the parks. City Council member Kevin Flynn, one of three who voted against the ban, said no concealed permit holder had ever been arrested for misusing a firearm in a park. the city.

He told The Denver Gazette that because of Teal’s comments, he would support revisiting the issue, but suspects there won’t be seven votes to change it.

“No one would take the threat of eminent domain seriously,” he said.

Teal’s comments touched a nerve with Denver Parks and Recreation officials when they surfaced last week.

Lawyers for both sides dug into the issue trying to determine whether one government can seize another government’s property.

Holland & Hart estate lawyer Tim Gordon said he had never seen eminent domain used in this way before.

“It’s strange. Yes, Douglas County can normally take property to create a park, but it’s already a park,” said Gordon, who added that the hype around Daniels Park sounds like political bluster. “There could be some chest puffs. But even if Douglas County can do that, they’ll have to pay for the land.”

Gordon said the eminent domain process would be messy. To seize the property using eminent domain, Douglas County would first have to file a motion for conviction with the courts and there would be a briefing and probably a hearing to determine if the county could take the land.

If the court approves the seizure, then there would be a trial to determine the value of the land. The county would not be included in this process, eventually making the decision up to voters.

Scott Gilmore, Denver’s assistant director of parks and recreation, told The Denver Gazette the land could be worth between half a billion dollars and $800 million.

Teal made his comments at the group’s weekly executive meeting on Tuesday.

During the open session, Thomas asked Teal if he had contacted Gilmore. Teal said he has spoken about the issue with people who make the decisions, particularly some members of the Denver City Council.

“I’m happy with the direction my discussions are going and I think the city council members I’m talking to — they’re also happy with the way these discussions are going,” he said.

The 1,000-acre park has been owned by Denver for more than a century, but is located in Douglas County, bordering Castle Pines, where the average home price exceeds $1 million. A road through the park has been paid for and is maintained by Douglas County.

Daniels Park is one of 22 parks in the Denver Mountain Parks system located outside the city limits. It is popular with hikers, used for Aboriginal ceremonies, and a bison herd roams the property.

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