In 2021, Denver’s local government has seen significant successes and failures regarding city modification projects, from city council to the mayor’s office to the ballot.
In the 2021 election, Denverites adopted a $ 260 million bond package to fund more than 80 infrastructure projects as part of the city’s COVID-19 stimulus package. This will provide $ 104.04 million for municipal facilities projects, $ 38.6 million for housing projects, $ 63.32 million for transportation projects and $ 54.07 million for construction projects. parks and recreation.
Some of the larger projects planned include a $ 30 million renovation of the May Bonfils Stanton Theater in Loretto Heights, an additional $ 30 million for the construction of homeless shelters and $ 15.8 million for maintenance and construction of parks in Districts 1 and 11.
While voters approved the $ 260 million bond, the $ 450 million bond package failed when voters rejected a measure to spend $ 190 million on the construction of the National Western Center Arena and to renovate the historic building from 1909.
Funding for the arena has received constant criticism since the bond package was announced earlier this year, with many saying the funds would be better spent on housing or public health. Mayor Michael Hancock, who proposed the bond package, said he intended to seek other sources of funding for the arena.
Denver voters also rejected three other city-changing voting measures that would have required the city to enforce its urban camping ban more aggressively, lowered the cap on Denver’s overall rate of sale and use and repealed the city group life ordinance.
Meanwhile, voters approved an ordinance that requires a citywide vote to develop a property with a city-owned conservation easement, such as the Park Hill Golf Course, and an ordinance removing the mayor of the power to make appointments to the Office of the Independent Observer, giving the instead to a voluntary, citizen-led oversight board.
More recently, Denver City Council passed an ordinance in early December that would have banned the sale of most flavored tobacco products in the city. The ban – due to come into effect in 2023 – would have made it illegal to sell flavored menthol cigarettes, chewing tobacco and vaping products in an attempt to reduce tobacco use among young people.
After the council vote, a backlash erupted from the city’s 416 tobacco retailers who feared the ban would bankrupt them and adult tobacco users.
This led to Hancock vetoing the ban, marking only the second time Hancock has used his veto against the council in his 10 years as mayor. Although the veto has ended the ban for now, the flavored tobacco saga will likely continue into 2022. Hancock and a number of council members said they plan to pursue other policies to reduce the tobacco use among young people.