While the matter still remains unresolved in the court system, Denver Public Schools will begin killing black-footed prairie dogs today on the park-land site planned for elementary school construction, nonprofit Friends of Denver Parks announced late Tuesday.
Nonprofit president Renee Lewis said Tuesday Sept. 24 that she had no idea that it was coming. “Our representative government has chosen to take the low road and kill the prairie dogs,” she said.
A posting on the Hampden Heights site said the animals will be trapped, removed and donated to the Birds of Prey Foundation for the rehabilitation of raptors. Trapping is scheduled between Sept. 25 and Oct. 4.
The notice refers phone calls to 720-423-3200.
Her group is suing both the DPS and the City of Denver for a land swap involving nearly half of Hampden Heights North Park. The park abuts Hentzell Park Designated Natural Area, and neighboring residents consider it part of Hentzell. DPS would build a school, while the city received a downtown building in the swap that will be used as a victim’s resource center.
Supporters of Friends of Denver Parks contend the land swap was illegal and in violation of the city charter, which calls for a vote. The nonprofit has gone to the city three times with petitions supporting a referendum, only to be turned away by City Clerk Debra Johnson.
DPS, the city and Johnson are all parties to litigation by the nonprofit, which is taking the issue to trial in Denver District Court. The Colorado Court of Appeals will also hear the matter. Attorney John Case is representing the group pro-bono.
The nonprofit has been joined by Denver Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation in the protest. Denver INC represents 92 neighborhood associations in Denver.
To raise money to support the costs of litigation, Friends of Denver Parks is holding a fundraising gala, “A Hootenanny Good Time” 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Crystal Rose, 9755 E. Hampden Ave.