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What are Denver’s infrastructure ballot measures 2A-2E asking?

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Bike detection lane at Denver intersection

Bike detection lane at Denver intersection

DENVER (KDVR) — Denver Mayor Michael Hancock wants voters to agree to spend some major dollars on improvements for the city over the next few years.

Enough “yes” votes on ballot measures 2A-2E would allow the city to borrow $450 million of bond money to fund the projects.

Although the measures are loaded with projects, one in particular is getting all the attention. At-large council member Debbie Ortega is a proponent of all five measures.

“You’ve got to break them up by categories and part of the reason for that is to ensure that money doesn’t get shifted from one category to the other,” Ortega said.

All the measures would allocate bond money for infrastructure in the city.

What is Denver’s 2021 infrastructure ballot measure package asking?

Denver ballot measure 2A would allocate $104 million to improve facilities the Denver Zoo, Denver Botanic Gardens and Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Denver ballot measure 2B asks for $38.6 million for housing and shelter improvements in the city.

Denver ballot measure 2C wants $63 million for transportation and mobility improvements like sidewalk coverage gaps, bike lanes and pedestrian pathways.

Denver ballot measure 2D looks to use $54 million dollars for parks and recs, bringing new parks to Northeast and South Denver.

City leaders are hoping 2E passes to fund renovations at the iconic National Western Complex, partially turning it into a public market. It would also bring a new arena to town, which some neighbors feel is not what the community needs. While 2E is being grouped into the campaign for the other measures, some say it should not be.

“Our strategy is just to draw attention to 2E as being uniquely different. And we do not have a formal position on 2A, B, C or D. We’re only opposing to 2E,” said Sarah Lake, manager for the opposition campaign “No on 2E.”

The measure asks for $190 million to renovate the complex and build a new midsize arena. Lake believes the plan to bring a market to the old campus will not serve the neighbors that live there.

“The market that’s going to be developed here is a high-end market: it’s a restaurant and prepared foods. This neighborhood desperately needs a grocery store. It’s a food desert, so they’re asking that the city can help invest in what they want rather than a tourist attraction and more development that’s decided by developers,” Lake said.

Proponents say infrastructure ballot measures will create jobs in Denver

City leaders say the projects from the bond package will also spur jobs around the city.

“They’ll be full-time jobs, construction jobs. You know, they’ll probably be enough work to serve the broader community, and it’s going to generate revenue for the city as well,” Ortega said.

But those specifically against 2E worry those jobs will not jumpstart the careers people in the area are looking for.

“While the arena and market are positioned to be economic drivers, it is economic profit for developers and not for the local community. So, there might be some jobs that are created, but they are largely low-skill, are non-career jobs,” Lake said.

The mayor and most of the city council are supporting 2A-E. While the measures do not ask for a tax increase right now, opponents worry about how the city will pay off the bonds in the future.

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