$450M Infrastructure Package Referred to November Ballot

Published on August 23, 2021

Mayor Michael B. Hancock thanked Denver City Council Monday night, Aug. 23, for approving the referral of five 2021 General Obligation bond (GO bond) infrastructure investments to voters on the November ballot. The $450 million GO bond infrastructure package is a key component of the city’s financial plan for economic recovery, the investments of which are expected to create an estimated 7,500 good-paying jobs, $483 million in worker wages and benefits, and $1 billion in economic benefits.

“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,” Mayor Hancock said. “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.”

The $450 million infrastructure bond package includes more than 80 distinct projects across Denver with a focus on equity and economic opportunity. Denver voters will see the proposed GO bond package broken into five purpose areas on the November 2, 2021 ballot:

  • $190 million for the National Western Center campus for a new mid-sized arena to support year-round events and year-round jobs, and to renovate the historic 1909 Building for use as a public market to provide food access in a neighborhood lacking access to fresh foods and creating space for neighborhood businesses
  • $104 million to create new and preserve beloved community assets including making critical ADA accessibility improvements to ensure community assets are accessible to all residents, building two new libraries and expanding an existing library in un-served and under-served neighborhoods of Westwood, Globeville and Hampden, and creating a new youth empowerment center
  • $63 million for 46 projects to address transportation safety in neighborhoods, address six miles of sidewalk gaps, construct the first part of the 5280 trail, and create 16 miles of new bike lanes
  • $54 million to improve and build new playgrounds, athletic fields, a public pool and public restrooms
  • $39 million for housing and sheltering facilities serving people experiencing homelessness

The bond package was created based on projects and priorities identified by several thousand Denver residents over five years of outreach and engagement (2021 RISE GO Bond, Elevate Denver Bond process, Denveright Comprehensive Planning process, 6-Year Capital Improvement Plan), including more than 6,000 residents who engaged in telephone town halls and online surveys and forums in May and June of 2021. In addition, the package considers feedback from city agencies regarding priorities and project readiness, and City Council priorities.

The city’s GO bonds are secured by dedicated property tax mills. The 2021 GO Bond proposal is expected to remain within the existing property tax rate for GO Bonds. Each bond issuance must be approved by City Council and is expected to be competitively sold based on the lowest cost to the City.

Denver’s GO Bonds are currently rated “AAA” by all three major credit rating agencies who last reaffirmed the rating in November 2020 citing the city’s strong financial management prior to and during the pandemic.

With final approval from City Council, the five bond measures will now be referred for inclusion on the November 2021 ballot. A full list of the infrastructure projects to be funded by the $450 million GO bond may be found on risetogetherdenver.org and denvergov.org/finance.