City Council approves referendum on DCPA improvements

Michael B. Hancock. Photo by John Moore
“This is a thoughtful, balanced and responsible investment package created by and for the people of Denver,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, pictured today at the reopening of the DCPA’s Space Theatre.

Voters in November will consider wide slate of improvements including Stage and Ricketson theatres

By John More
Senior Arts Journalist

The Denver City Council on Monday unanimously referred a bond to the November ballot that if approved by voters will make funds available for 460 projects valued at $937 million, including $19 million to renovate the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Stage and Ricketson theatres. Without a tax increase.

Roughly half of the total bond program would go toward road maintenance, sidewalk connections, intersection improvements and transit infrastructure, Denverite reported.

The slate includes library renovations; new recreation centers and playgrounds; and upgrades to police and fire stations, cultural institutions such as the Denver Center and enhancements to Denver Health Medical Center.

Mayor Michael B. Hancock called the initiative “a thoughtful, balanced and responsible investment package created by and for the people of Denver.” He said the November vote represents an unparalleled opportunity for the city. 

More than half of the projects on the list will fix and repair existing infrastructure, with the remainder dedicated to upgrades and new infrastructure across the city.

There was no opposition voiced at the council meeting.
The proposed improvements will be presented to voters as seven separate spending packages. The referendum including the DCPA and other cultural institutions will be known as 2B, which DCPA President and CEO Janice Sinden took as a positive sign, given its proximity to Shakespeare’s “To be or not to be” speech from Hamlet.

“We’re excited to work with the city on the upcoming bond campaign,” DCPA Sinden said at this morning’s reopening of the DCPA’s Space Theatre – which benefited in part from the city’s 2007 “Better Denver” bond package. “I will be plugging it shamelessly.” 

The improvements would not mean an increase in the tax rate, Denverite reported, which will likely be a taken as major selling point. Property owners would be paying more for debt service than in the past because their property generally is worth more.

“These measures were created with the most public input of any bond proposal in Denver’s history,” Hancock said.

The seven separate ballot questions include:

  • $431 million for transportation and mobility projects
  • $116.9 million for city-owned cultural facility improvements (including the Stage and Ricketon theatres)
  • $75 million for a new outpatient care center at Denver Health Medical Center
  • $77 million for safety facility projects
  • $69.3 million for Denver Public Library improvements
  • $151.6 million for parks and recreation
  • $16.5 million for city-owned facility improvements

Visit 2017GObond for more information about the bond process and projects.

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