(The Center Square) – Denver City Council gave final approval Monday night for Mayor Michael Hancock’s $450 million bond proposal to appear on the ballot.
The package includes more than 80 large infrastructure projects, including a new arena in the Globeville-Elyria-Swansea neighborhood. Voters will have the opportunity in November to approve or deny five separate ballot questions that allocate the funds. City Council approved the package by a 9-4 margin.
“This bond package invests in our economic recovery by investing in our people, and I thank those Council members who voted in favor of referring this opportunity to voters,” Hancock said in a statement.
“These projects will help sustain our economic recovery by supporting more than 7,500 good-paying jobs from construction and hundreds more jobs well into the future, creating new community assets to support year-round events and local businesses, improve mobility, and strengthen our cultural institutions, libraries and parks & rec facilities,” he added.
Some members of council expressed reservations about the impacts of the projects. Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca, who represents the Globeville-Elyria-Swansea neighborhood, opposed the $190 million allocation for improvements around the Western National Center, calling them “unnecessary.”
Similarly, the Globeville Elyria Swansea Coalition, a nonprofit group, criticized the plan as one that is against the advice of the city’s financial planning models.
“Much of the proposed development may also be economically untenable, even without considering the ongoing economic fallout to the tourism and entertainment industries, that have been thrown into great economic doubt since the beginning of the pandemic,” the organization said in a statement.
The mayor’s office has defended the funding, saying it will bring up to 7,500 jobs to the neighborhood.
Mike Strott, a spokesperson for the mayor, told Westword that “Nearly 3,400 of the projected 7,500 jobs that will be created through this bond package will be created through the proposed arena and 1909 Building projects.”
"The events and businesses after construction is complete will support additional jobs there and in the neighborhoods on top of that,” he added, according to Westword.