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Former Denver mayor Wellington Webb supports nonprofit opposing park land swap

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Former Denver mayor Wellington Webb has joined a nonprofit battling the city of Denver over the retention of park space, a spokeswoman for the Friends of Denver Parks confirmed Tuesday, December 17.

The nonprofit has taken on the city of Denver, Denver Public Schools and City Clerk Debra Johnson over a land swap of park land between the city and the school district.

In a vote on April 1, the city traded nearly half of Hampden Heights North Park to the school district for a downtown building. The city plans to build an elementary school on the park land, which is in a designated flood plain.

The nonprofit’s attorney John Case argues that the case is simple. “The law says that our government cannot sell any part of a park without a vote of the people,” he said. Case points to a section of the City Charter.

Webb wrote the group: “I believe in the protection of Denver parks within the city and in the mountains. I do not support the use of park space for development.”

“I believe we should maintain what we have and acquire additional park space for future generations,” Webb wrote.

Webb was the first African American mayor of Denver. His biography posted on his company website, Webb International Group LLC, points to the addition of more than 2,000 acres of new parks and open space among the accomplishments of his administration. The website called it “the largest addition of park land by any mayor in Denver’s history.”

Webb was the only mayor in U.S. history to serve as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, president of the National Conference of Black Mayors and president of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors, Webb International said. He founded the company in 2003.

He was mayor of Denver for 12 years, from 1991 to 2003.

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