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Denver Mayor Michael Hancock speaks to the media in January. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is resuming his push for a "state-of-the-art" arena on the National Western Center campus.

Why it matters: Development plans that included the arena were put on hold during the pandemic, following a nosedive in Denver's lodger's tax, which was intended to pay for part of the project.

  • The goal is to bring new life to the rundown Western Center complex and turn the campus into a year-round destination for Denverites and tourists alike.

Driving the news: The arena is now the crown jewel in a $450 million infrastructure bond package Hancock proposed in his annual State of the City address this morning.

  • The mayor is gathering political support to put the package on the November ballot for voter approval.

In his pitch for the arena, Hancock said "the new events it will attract will create year-round jobs and provide funding for community programs and projects important to the well-being of the surrounding neighborhoods."

  • Hancock's spokesperson Mike Strott told Axios the mayor's vision also includes resuming remodeling plans to convert a 111-year-old former arena on the National Western Center campus into a public market.

Details: The bond package — which will go before City Council for approval in the coming weeks — is estimated to create at least 7,500 jobs and $1 billion in economic benefits. And "that’s just for the construction," Hancock said.

  • Strott said the majority of the jobs and economic benefits will stem from the National Western Center project.

State of play: City officials are still working on narrowing the list of projects that would fit into the package, which is $50 million more than initially proposed.

  • A special committee was formed to whittle down a list of nearly 150 projects based on a criteria including equity, economic impact and safety.

What to watch: If approved, the 10,000-seat arena could be used for events including sports games and concerts, Strott told Axios.

  • It would likely replace the Denver Coliseum, 9News reports.

Yes, but: Several council members have voiced opposition to including arena construction in the bond package because it eats up most of the budget, the Denver Gazette reports.

  • Strott told Axios construction of the arena and public market would cost an estimated $190 million — 42% of the package.
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Go deeper

Newsom signs $15 billion package to fight climate change

Gov. Gavin Newsom Photo: Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a $15 billion climate package on Thursday as California wildfires threaten more sequoias at Sequoia National Park.

Why it matters: The package is the largest such investment in California history as drought conditions have worsened across the state and led to numerous wildfires. More than 1.9 million acres have burned across the state this year, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, including over 220,000 in the Caldor fire last month.

"An embarrassment": Biden condemns Border Patrol for using horses to deter Haitian migrants

President Biden speaking from the White House on Sept. 24. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Friday condemned Border Patrol officers for using horses to deter Haitian immigrants from an encampment under the international bridge earlier this week but took responsibility for the actions and said an investigation is underway.

Why it matters: Photos of patrol officers charging their horses at immigrants prompted criticism of the Biden administration's handling of the crisis at the border.

Senate GOP pushes DOJ to roll back Trump oversight rule

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senate Republicans want the Justice Department to roll back Trump-era restrictions on congressional oversight criticized at the time as an attempt to insulate the Trump administration from Democratic investigators, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: While some Republicans spoke out against the DOJ guidance at the time, it was mostly Democrats who attacked it as a constitutionally dubious effort to scuttle congressional oversight. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and the GOP is making similar arguments with Biden in the White House.