DENVER – Mayor Michael B. Hancock today delivered his 2018 State of the City Address, honoring the accomplishments the city and its people have achieved together. The Mayor announced an equity platform focused on extending economic opportunity to everyone and protecting the history, character and sense of community in Denver’s neighborhoods in the midst of growth and change.
“Denver, this is a transformational moment in our history,” the Mayor said to an audience gathered at the new Carla Madison Recreation Center. “We should be proud of how far we’ve come. We are a city on the rise, and our clarion call is to seize the moment and set Denver and everyone who lives here on an equitable path of prosperity for the next 100 years.”
The Mayor congratulated people in every neighborhood for leading Denver out of the Great Recession and taking the city to new heights, including:
- The creation of 90,000 new jobs and 6,600 new businesses, a 2.4 percent unemployment rate and one of the strongest economies in the nation;
- The creation and preservation of nearly 5,000 affordable homes, apartments and condominiums for families citywide;
- Placing 6,000 homeless families and individuals into housing, and launching innovations like Denver Day Works and Social Impact Bond housing for the chronically homeless.
- Establishing 41 new domestic and international destinations out of DIA, creating new opportunities for local businesses, tourists and convention-goers;
- Expanding access to early childhood education, afterschool programs, healthy meals, and cultural experiences for Denver children;
- Repaving streets, improving walkability and bike-ability, protecting 1,000 acres of parkland, and boosting access to neighborhood playgrounds and outdoor experiences.
Mayor Hancock also noted three other citizen-led efforts that will help keep the city sustainable, accessible and inclusive for decades to come:
- The $1 billion Elevate Denver infrastructure improvement program approved by voters last year;
- Expansion projects at DIA, the Colorado Convention Center and Stock Show site;
- Denveright plans that will guide how the city grows over the next 20 years.
“Often, a city’s progress is measured by the tangible, by what was built -- roads, parks and monuments,” Mayor Hancock said. “But I believe our progress must be measured by the intangibles, by what builds people up: social justice, access to opportunity, promoting equity in our communities, particularly during times of prosperity. That is the full measure of a city on the rise.
“More than 100 years ago, Mayor Speer launched the City Beautiful Movement and ushered in a new era of parks, infrastructure and architecture that we continue to benefit from,” the Mayor added. “Today, we are launching a new movement – an equity movement – that is about extending economic opportunity to all people, strengthening our neighborhoods, and preserving our history, culture and sense of community.”
Key components of the Mayor’s speech and his equity platform include:
- Seeking City Council approval next month to double Denver’s Affordable Housing Fund using marijuana tax revenue and bonding to create and preserve more than 6,000 affordable homes in the next five years. Working with numerous partners, the Mayor is also examining how Denver can utilize even more affordable housing tools, such as land trusts, property acquisition, city-owned real estate, accessory dwelling units, resident-preference and income non-discrimination policies, and extending minimum affordability periods.
- Launching a Neighborhood Equity and Stabilization Team, or NEST, to better support residents and businesses facing significant changes to their neighborhoods. The team will deploy services specifically tailored to neighborhoods at risk of losing their identity and affordability as they experience surges in public and private investments.
- Expanding the number of financial empowerment and resource centers and financial navigators to help connect residents in need of a helping hand with city services and support.
- Kicking off a new initiative where city crews will visit different neighborhoods – starting with the Sun Valley and West Colfax areas this summer – and work with residents to identify and make needed repairs, from replacing stop signs to improving bikeways and parkways to fixing potholes and much more.
- Ensuring local residents and minority- and women-owned businesses benefit from the $6 billion in public projects in the pipeline for the next decade. This includes targeted recruitment of local residents for construction jobs and strengthening contract opportunities for M/WBEs.
- Kicking off a Race & Social Justice Initiative that will train city employees to help achieve better outcomes for working families and communities of color.
Mayor Hancock also announced other major efforts that will improve, strengthen and add to what we love about the city while strengthening Denver’s sense of community:
- Accelerating the buildout of Denver’s bicycle network by adding 125 more miles of bike lanes over the next five years, piloting new mobility options such as dockless bikes and electric scooters, and testing new ways to fill transit gaps with city-funded shuttle services.
- Releasing the city’s 80x50 Climate Action Plan to achieve an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Strategies include meeting 100 percent of the electricity needs for municipal facilities with renewable sources like wind and solar by 2025, and meeting 100 percent of the entire city’s electricity needs with renewable sources by 2030.
- Strengthening the city’s social safety net by improving services for those experiencing homelessness, mental illness and substance misuse. Specific efforts will include launching a 24/7 drug treatment-on-demand pilot, and expanding the successful Denver Day Works program and supportive housing for the chronically homeless.
“The State of our City is the State of Each of Us – everyone living and working in every part of our city. Every person in our city is important, and Denver only succeeds when all of our people succeed. To those who have been left behind by our recent successes, you are the people we are working hard every day to lift up,” the Mayor said.
For full text of the speech go to: www.DenverGov.org/stateofthecity