|Mayor Hancock Delivers 2014 State of the City Address
DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock today delivered his third State of the City Address, highlighting achievements of the past 12 months and announcing new plans to create a more livable city for all people, one that offers opportunity around every corner.
“With a quality of life that is second to none, I am pleased to report that the State of our City has never been more vibrant. Our people are proud to live here. Our city is thriving,” Mayor Hancock told an audience of more than 500 at the Denver Art Museum. “We have marched out of the recession. Neighborhood by neighborhood, community by community, family by family we are emerging as a city of opportunity for all people."
In his 30-minute speech, the Mayor said Denver is enjoying the first year without service cuts since the recession and his administration continues to restore essential services, such as hiring more safety officers, enhancing park maintenance and increasing library hours.
The Mayor also highlighted that Denver is among the most financially secure cities in the nation, with a diverse economy and transformational development projects underway. Since 2011, more than 27,000 new jobs and 1,500 businesses have been added to the Denver economy, and the unemployment rate has been cut nearly in half.
“We strive to be more, to thrive under any circumstance, and together we have created a prosperous city that the world recognizes as a community that gets it right,” Mayor Hancock said. “But the best is yet to come. We are all Denver, and in this city – our great city – everyone matters. We will not rest until the promise of opportunity is within reach of every resident, every business and every child.”
To ensure Denver remains one of the nation’s most livable cities, the Mayor indicated that the administration is focused on:
- Building opportunity neighborhood by neighborhood. Denver is booming with development and infrastructure projects that are uplifting neighborhoods. The new Union Station, Crawford Hotel and surrounding retail have spurred a $1.8 billion wave of development in the area. Other projects include Welton Street investments that are sparking catalytic projects along the corridor and $60 million in improvements to Federal Boulevard from 6th Avenue to I-70.
- Growing business and job opportunities. Denver is creating a stable economic foundation by delivering on a basic mission to increase job opportunities, grow and attract new companies and prepare a skilled workforce for the 21st century. A big year for business attraction, Denver welcomed large employers such as Kinross Gold USA, NAMJet and Ardent Mills. The city also gained solid footing as a small business and startup hotspot by ensuring businesses have access to capital and a good workforce, and by leveling the playing field for minority and women owned businesses.
- Delivering opportunity to live healthy, happy lives. From access to fresh foods to affordable housing, Denver is zeroing in on what each neighborhood needs in order for residents to lead a high quality lifestyle. Every resident deserves to feel safe in their neighborhood. By restructuring the Police Department, crime rates are falling, response times are improving and Denver’s officers are able to focus on proactive patrols to better prevent crime.
- Offering all of Denver’s children the opportunity to achieve. Denver is providing unprecedented support to its children by giving them access to a good education as well as quality libraries, parks, healthy foods, and activities that keep their minds and bodies engaged. Open to more than 100,000 children, the MY Denver Card program is getting children into rec centers like never before. Today, an average of 12,000 children access Denver’s rec centers every month for free.
- Committing to every opportunity to supply better services. Denver is being recognized nationwide for taking an employee-led approach to streamlining services and delivering the highest quality services at the lowest possible cost. Creating a government that works smarter by moving at the speed of its residents, the administration has brought online more interactions between residents and City Hall and done away with credit card fees.
In order to remain the city of opportunity, Mayor Hancock announced plans to keep Denver on the path of prosperity not just for tomorrow, but for generations to come.
- Leaving no one behind. To ensure all families and individuals are able to prosper, the city will take comprehensive action to address a full range of housing challenges and provide safe, quality affordable housing to residents. This will include housing and supportive services for up to 300 of Denver’s chronically homeless using social impact bonds.
- Growing and protecting Denver’s natural resources. By year’s end, Denver will finalize its efforts to formally designate more than 700 acres of protected parkland. The city will also realize the benefit of a $25 million investment into the South Platte River and restore nearly 200 acres of habitat between the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge and Peña Boulevard.
- Elevating every neighborhood. Keeping with Denver’s focused efforts to elevate overlooked and underserved communities, the city will move to create a town center on Morrison Road, spurring jobs and income and bringing fresh foods that will lift up the entire community. The city will also launch a neighborhood planning effort in partnership with Westwood neighbors to deliver long-lasting improvements.
- Eliminating the achievement gap. The Mayor has joined the Denver Preschool Program in asking Denver voters to reauthorize and expand the early childhood education program that gives the city’s youngest students a smart start on their educational careers. This program creates equal access for all Denver’s kids and ensures they enter school prepared to learn.
For the full text of Mayor Hancock’s third State of the City Address CLICK HERE.
Also today, Mayor Hancock provided a FULL REPORT to the community on the progress his administration has made over the past year.