Denver deciding how to spend $750 million to improve infrastructure

DENVER — The Denver City Council is one step closer to finalizing its bonding plan to send to voters in November.

On Monday, members of a key stakeholder committee submitted their final recommendations to Mayor Michael Hancock.

The $750 million bonding project would be the first such project in more than 10 years with the goal of borrowing money to improve critical infrastructure needs.

Some of big winners under the proposal include:

  • $75 million for an ambulatory care center at Denver Health Medical Center
  • $55 million to create rapid bus transit on Colfax Avenue
  • $31 million to modernize Denver’s central library
  • $29 million for new city sidewalks
  • $18 million for more bike lanes

“We tried to recognize the changing times and the changing ways of mobility as well as current infrastructure needs,” said Roxane White, the chair of the committee.

But several council members are expressing concern over what wasn’t funded in the proposal.

Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman is upset more money wasn’t spent on Colfax revitalization.

She wanted $20 million to improve the safety and ambiance of Colfax — complete with newly planted trees and lights. Colfax received $6 million.

“It won’t come close for what we had hoped for Colfax,” Susman said.

Other concerns are being raised by councilmen who are not getting any money at all.

Councilwoman Kendra Black, who represents District 4, said her district will only receive minor library improvements. Councilman Kevin Flynn said his district is receiving no dollars for transformational projects.

“We have officers right now working out of a garage it’s so overcrowded,” Flynn said.

Ultimately, the city council will approve the package that will be on the November ballot, so changes are likely to take place.

“Denver is growing up,” Hancock said as he adjourned the meeting Monday.