Denver, Colorado 2021-10-14 15:39:42 –
Four years ago, a $ 937 million bond package trying to raise money for overdue road construction and improving urban cultural facilities Cruising for election victory In Denver.
Mayor Michael Hancock and his supporters returned to the ballot this year, asking voters to approve a $ 450 million bond package that would bite the city’s $ 4 billion in the November 2 elections. Project backlog..
Called RISE Denver’s General Obligation Bond 5 Debt Induction Measures Construction of two new libraries, upgrade to homeless shelter, and Most controversial, A new arena on the National Western Center Campus.
For supporters, it’s time to move.They are federal regulators Showed that interest rates will be raised from next year And investing in urban infrastructure will help Denver recover from the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
“In reality, we have to play a role in rekindling the economy,” Hancock said. “Most of these projects focus on poorly serviced areas. The post-pandemic era is when we focus on providing services and jobs to poorly serviced communities.”
The RISE package may face more voter scrutiny than 2017 bonds, especially with regard to Reference Question 2E.
The most expensive of the five measures, 2E, will build a 10,000-seat multipurpose arena on the National Western Center Campus and fund the renovation of the arena built there in 1909 to turn it into a public market. increase.
Hancock sees these projects as the “economic stimulus” part of the fixed income package. This is a facility that creates opportunities for small businesses and returns some money to the city when completed.
Sara Lake is leading Not an arena bond Campaign against the bill. She states that 2E is half-hearted, poorly planned, and financially unhealthy. Feasibility study It is about whether the proposed arena can compete with the then Pepsi Center and 1st Bank Center in Bloomfield, and whether the public market is sustainable without increasing the population density around the National Western Campus. I raised a question.
The long-term planned project was expected to be funded through a partnership with a private developer, but the city suspended last year’s bidding process during a pandemic.
“The city is rushing to pass the costs on to taxpayers after a failed public-private partnership, without taking the time to consider other, more equitable ways to fund the project,” Lake said. I did. “If the market and arena are not ultimately profitable, then there is no economic benefit.”
The RISE Denver campaign in favor of bond packages emphasized that 2E will not raise taxes, but Lake says it is dishonest. The wording on the ballot leaves the city open to raising property taxes by $ 35.2 million annually to repay its debt.
The city’s fiscal authorities say they expect the city to be able to pay bond packages without tax increases, even under the most conservative estimates, and are not willing to do so.
Opinions on 2E differ between the Grove Building, which surrounds the National Western Campus, collectively known as GES, and the northern Denver district of Elilia Swansea.
GES Union Organizing for health and housing justice opposes this measure, stating in a news release that “it is inconsistent with fair development and fair recovery.” The coalition wants the city to focus on health and housing services, such as rent management and investment in subsidized housing, instead of 2E.
Juan Velos, a long-time resident, urged voters to hand over bonds at a press conference held Wednesday at a station next to the National Western Campus. He was joined by councilor Debbie Ortega and more than 12 people who supported all five measures.
“The proposed market is very important to the community,” Velos said through a translator. “We are really trying to raise community awareness and really complete these projects so that something will succeed.”
Bond packages contain far more than arena measures, and the Hancock administration expects a big return on investment if voters choose to invest. He said the bond project would create jobs for about 7,500 people and generate an estimated $ 843 million in worker wages. Private funding is expected to follow the city’s initiative.
“There are examples like Brighton Boulevard and Union Station. When the general public leans on it, the private sector tends to respond with almost five or six times the investment,” he said.
City government critic and watchman Christine O’Connor points out that the project funded through the 2017 bond package has not yet been completed.
“They are taking the easy approach,” she said of the city leaders in favor of RISE. “They always rely on the goodwill of Denver voters, who say,’Sure, we have a little more of our taxes.’ To be honest, I don’t think it’s time for more general debt. “
The breakdown of the five bond measures and their functions are as follows.
- Referenced Question 2A (Denver Facility System Bond): $ 104 million for projects such as repairing and improving the Denver Botanical Gardens. Two new libraries. Renovation of the city-owned youth empowerment center. Accessibility upgrades for city buildings.
- Referenced Question 2B (Combination of Denver Housing and Shelter Systems): $ 38.6 million for housing and shelter projects such as building and refurbishing shelters for the homeless and, in some cases, buying buildings to hide in shelters.
- Referenced Question 2C (Denver Transport and Mobility Systems Bonds): $ 63.3 million for transportation projects such as Denver sidewalk expansion. Modify the existing bike lane and add a new bike lane. Rebuild the Morrison Road Corridor to add a cultural arts district. Build an urban trail in downtown.
- Referenced Question 2D (Denver Park and Recreation System Bonds): $ 54 million for park projects in northeastern and southern Denver. Restoration of athletic courts and fields. Replacement of playground and recreational equipment. Rebuild the Mestizo-Curtis Park pool.
- Referenced Question 2E (National Western Campus Facility System Bond): $ 190 million to build a new arena on the National Western Center campus and renovate an existing 1909 building.
Five questions, $450M worth of bonds and a controversial arena Source link Five questions, $450M worth of bonds and a controversial arena