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What’s going on in Daniels Park?

By Chris Michlewicz; photo courtesy of Dana Giddens

Photo of utility undergrounding project area in Daniels Park

Truckloads of scrub oak being removed from Daniels Park prompted questions and sunsequent community social media dialogue about what was alater discovered to be part of a utility undergrounding project.

In late September, when pickup trucks started hauling away scrub oak near Daniels Park’s shared boundary with the Amber Ridge neighborhood on the west border of the City of Castle Pines, nearby residents started asking questions.

According to a spokesperson for Xcel Energy, “The [Castle Pines North] Metro District requested the overhead power lines at this location be placed underground. Xcel Energy is working to accommodate that request, and the project should be completed by the end of October.”

Castle Pines North Metro District (CPNMD) legal counsel, Kim Seter, said this issue dates back to an agreement between CPNMD and resident David McEntire (who now is also the CPNMD board president).

In 2016, when McEntire was a new homeowner in Amber Ridge, he granted a water line easement on his property to CPNMD so it could satisfy a request from Denver Mountain Parks and Recreation, which owns Daniels Park, to provide water to the area.

“We were looking for rights to tap into Castle Pines North’s water supply to provide water to the bison in the south pasture,” said Marketing Communications Specialist for Denver Parks and Recreation, Cyndi Karvaski. “That was the extent of our involvement.”

In exchange for the easement, CPNMD, which was under different leadership at that time, wrote McEntire a letter agreement stating, “As consideration for granting the Easement along the north property line of the Lot, the District will arrange to have Xcel relocate the power pole, situated in Daniel’s Park, to the extent feasible, to a location not adjacent to your Lot and to a location that is not within your proposed view corridor at no cost to you.” The letter stipulated the relocation of the pole was to be complete on or before October 1, 2016. That never happened.

Seter said, “From a legal perspective, this action is the necessary performance of a contract that should have been executed on in 2016.” He said the agreement dates back to a time well before McEntire served the District, and CPNMD is making sure the contract terms are honored. “It looks terrible,” said Seter, “but frankly it’s not.”

CPNMD Manager Jim Worley (who was not with the District at the time of the agreement), said the project died back in 2016 because there were complaints and threats of potential lawsuits about moving just one power pole for the benefit of a single homeowner. “Apparently, they didn’t want a lawsuit back then, which is why they backed out,” said Worley.

Earlier this year, Denver Mountain Parks and Recreation again approached CPNMD about gaining access to additional water for uses beyond the bison. According to Worley, Denver approved the undergrounding of the poles on their property, relaying the conversation as, “If you guys bury those poles and you want to pay for it, we are okay with it.”

McEntire, who said he has not actively participated in any of the discussions about this project since becoming president of the board, said he actually views it as a blessing that this has taken so long. “Often times, there are projects that are perceived to be of benefit to only a few that, in the long run, turn out to be beneficial for the whole.” McEntire cites fire protection, aesthetics and safety issues among the larger benefits to the broader community, including the 30 homes in Amber Ridge.

CPNMD will pay $88,105.18 to underground 10 power poles.

For additional information, contact CPNMD District Manager Jim Worley at 303-688-8550.



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