Fall 2020 Parks Ballot Initiatives

This will be an unusual election with two competing park land exchange initiatives.
“Protect our Parks,” was created and championed by the same folks who opposed the land exchange involving Strawberry Fields. After that exchange was approved by City Council, the group started a city sanctioned process to come up with a land exchange initiative to put on the ballot. “Protect our Parks” creates guidelines and a list of protected city parks. If it passes, any future proposed land exchange involving those parks would require voter approval.
The second initiative requires a super-majority of 7 council members for any land exchange involving parks. The thought behind the super-majority approach: any park land exchange should be carefully considered and require a higher bar of approval.
The TOSC Board of Directors considered the two options and ended up supporting the supermajority approach; though not a unanimous vote. We had some Board Members that felt it was very important that TOSC support “Protect our Parks”, Especially since many cities up and down the front range have ordinances requiring popular votes for park land exchanges or sales. The majority felt the Parks Advisory Board has done a good job over the years deliberating over staff proposed land exchanges involving parks. Many are complicated and require careful considerable discussion. Under the supermajority proposal, the advisory board’s decision would then go to city council. Only if 7 of 9 council members agree with the parks board would the exchange take place. Under ‘Protect our Parks’, all land exchanges would require a public vote which could require a special election and cost around $300,000 to conduct. Our Board had concerns given our cash-strapped parks department.
At this time we will be encouraging our members and partners to consider the pros and cons of each and vote for one or both. In order for one of these initiatives to pass, it requires 50% of voter support; if you vote no on one it could lead to both initiatives failing. So unless you directly oppose the option, abstaining is prefered to voting against it. If you have questions or comments concerning the park land initiatives, please contact us, info@trailsandopenspaces.org!

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