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Mayor Hancock Delivers 2016 State of the City Address

DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock today delivered his 2016 State of the City Address, declaring that Denver remains a vibrant, thriving city, while also announcing new initiatives aimed at closing equity gaps and increasing access to prosperity for everyone.

“Denver is employing more people than at any other time in our history and making improvements that will keep Denver moving forward for decades to come,” Mayor Hancock said during his annual address, which he delivered at the new outdoor plaza at Denver International Airport. “I am pleased to report that the state of our city is stronger than ever before.”

“But our work is far from over,” he said. “For too many people, the benefits of a strong economy remain out of reach and too many neighborhoods remain overlooked and underserved. Everyone deserves the opportunity to share in this prosperity. This is our call to action.”

In his 30-minute address, Mayor Hancock recapped progress of the past 12 months:

  • Increased mobility choices. Headlined by the opening of the new University of Colorado A Line, metro Denver enjoyed a banner transportation year. Denver now offers expanded rail options, innovative mobility choices and the new Go Denver smart-phone app. Together, these safe, reliable and accessible options are delivering mobility freedom to help move people and goods around town even as the region continues to grow by more than 4,500 people a month.

  • Provided more affordable housing. Through investments, loans, mortgage assistance and a new construction defects ordinance, Denver is working to keep the city affordable. Since 2013, when Mayor Hancock issued his “3x5 Challenge” to create 3,000 affordable units in five years, more than 1,800 affordable homes have been built and 1,000 more are in the pipeline.

  • Improved services for those in need. In partnership with service providers, the city debuted an innovative supportive housing program for 250 chronically homeless people, opened a day center for the homeless, and began teaming mental-health professionals with patrol officers. Denver also permanently established the Office of Financial Empowerment to help low-income residents reduce debt, build credit and savings, and open bank accounts.

  • Delivered on projects that will create thousands of jobs. Mayor Hancock’s administration, in many cases with voter approval, advanced several major projects that will provide thousands of jobs over the next decade, including new types of businesses at DIA, an expansion of the Colorado Convention Center, a reimagined Performing Arts Complex, and development of the nearly 300-acre National Western Center. In addition to creating jobs, these projects will further establish Denver as a hub of education, culture and tourism.

  • Continued major law enforcement reforms. The Sheriff’s Department instituted a new use-of-force policy and Crisis Intervention Training for all deputies, while the Police Department continued to reassess policies and procedures, build relationships with diverse communities, and increase accountability by equipping all patrol officers with body cameras. The Denver Fire Department also celebrated its 150th anniversary.

To connect more Denver residents, businesses and neighborhoods to the prosperity that Denver is experiencing, Mayor Hancock outlined an aggressive agenda that focuses on empowering people to achieve and succeed:

Offering hope for affordable housing and other opportunities. The Mayor announced the establishment of a new Office of HOPE – Housing and Opportunities for People Everywhere – which will coordinate city policies along the entire homeless to housing spectrum. With a new office and the city’s first permanent affordable housing fund, Mayor Hancock will maintain a laser focus on keeping Denver affordable and accessible for all.

Connecting local residents to job training programs and local jobs. Mayor Hancock called for Coloradans to join him in supporting a proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage this November. He also announced the City and County of Denver will “ban the box” asking about criminal backgrounds on many job applications and start a work program for the homeless. Denver will also focus on connecting people to local jobs through workforce training and public sector construction projects.

Creating mobility freedom in every neighborhood. With the goal of delivering mobility freedom to all Denver residents and neighborhoods, the city will continue to improve transportation services and infrastructure citywide. This means stronger partnerships with RTD and CDOT, deploying new technologies to improve traffic flow, enhancing more crosswalks and sidewalks, installing more bike lanes, increasing safety through our commitment to Vision Zero, and creating a one-stop mobility marketplace accessible via smart phone app and smart card. 

Uplifting Denver’s diverse neighborhoods. With a focus on West, North and Northeast Denver, the city and its partners will mitigate displacement while continuing to invest in and uplift communities. To kick-start this work, the city will create two economic opportunity zones that will strengthen our 21st century economy while providing local jobs for local residents.

Eliminating opportunity gaps throughout the community. Equipped with data that tells us where our families need more support, and through the work of Denver’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, the city will work to provide the tools that empower families to create their own path toward success.

Planning for the future. Two additional initiatives will help strengthen Denver for decades to come: the issuance of our next neighborhood-focused, citywide General Obligation bond in 2017, and the community-based Denveright effort to update the city’s land use, mobility, parks and recreation master plans.

“We must reach higher and dream bigger,” Mayor Hancock said. “We must aspire to help everyone, to knock down barriers and create pathways and opportunities where today there are only roadblocks and obstacles. That is the kind of city we must be. It’s the kind of city I know we can be. We will lean in. We will never give up. And we will succeed, all of us, together.”

For the full text of Mayor Hancock’s State of the City Address, as well as a full report to the community on the progress the administration has made over the past year, CLICK HERE.