Jul 18, 2022 - News

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to deliver last State of the City speech

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock speaks during the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Term-limited Denver Mayor Michael Hancock will deliver his last State of the City address Monday morning in Montbello, after nearly 12 years in office.

Why it matters: The speech from Denver's second-ever Black mayor will highlight his closing commitments to those who call the Mile High City home, and potentially outline his legacy for decades to come.

Between the lines: Pledges to double down on pandemic-era recovery, lowering crime rates, housing the homeless, and investing in initiatives to combat climate change are likely to take center stage, as these issues have in Hancock's past two addresses.

Yes, but: Not every promise made is a promise kept, as previous State of the City speeches have proved.

  • Axios Denver looked at the mayor's addresses in 2020 and 2021 to see how closely the Hancock administration kept to its word.

Flashback: The two major projects Hancock pitched in his most recent speeches — establishing a national think tank to research racism and building a new state-of-the-art arena — have not yet come to fruition.

  • Denver voters this past fall rejected the crown jewel in his $450 million bond package, voting against the $190 million arena at the National Western Center while approving other new spending.
  • Meanwhile, little movement has been made on the think tank, called the Denver Institute of Equity and Reconciliation, apart from an entity registering with that name earlier this year, per the secretary of state's office.

What else: The mayor made numerous pledges to pursue new plans to crack down on crime and homelessness, as well as to help the downtown core fully bounce back from the pandemic.

Reality check: Despite establishing a Youth Violence Prevention initiative and passing affordable housing policies, crime and homelessness continue to rise in Denver, with no signs of slowing any time soon.

  • At the same time, downtown Denver continues to bear the brunt of both issues, and its pandemic rebound remains a mirage.

The other side: The Hancock administration has made tangible efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions, including releasing a Net Zero implementation plan last year and making renewable electricity more accessible, to varying degrees of success.

What's next: Hancock’s remarks are likely to outline some of the most pressing issues that could be on his predecessor's plate.

  • His final State of the City could also offer insight on how the longtime leader envisions his legacy and future plans.

How to watch: The address is open to the public at Montbello Recreation Center, and will also be broadcast live at 11am on Denver 8 TV.

  • A community reception will be held outside the rec center from noon to 2pm.

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