Nov 4, 2021 - Politics

Hancock administration charts course for post-election Denver

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Denver voters may have vetoed Mayor Michael Hancock's plans for a new arena at the National Western Center — but he's far from finished with fighting for the pricey project.

State of play: Following 2E’s defeat on Tuesday, Hancock's administration will go "back to the drawing board" to find another way forward," the mayor's chief of staff, Alan Salazar, tells Axios Denver.

Context: Local voters in 2015 approved a ballot measure to fund a massive overhaul of the National Western Stock Show complex with tourism tax dollars, the first two phases of which are underway.

  • But after a pandemic-induced nosedive in Denver's tourism revenue, development plans that included the arena were put on hold.
  • Hancock had hoped that if voters approved 2E, the projects left in the backlog, including the center, could be paid for in the near term.
  • But now his administration will need to find new funding sources to bring the arena to fruition.

What else: The Denver City Council plans to look at numerous "ballot reform" issues in 2022 to ensure voters aren't met with "unnecessarily confusing" questions at the polls, at-large Councilperson Robin Kniech tells Axios.

  • The move is a reaction to referendums with "reverse wording" intended to repeal council ordinances, such as ballot measure 2F, which aimed to overturn the city’s group living amendment.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to show Mayor Hancock plans to continue pursuing a new arena following 2E’s defeat (not 2F’s defeat), and to clarify the purpose of the City Council’s planned ballot reforms.


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