City Unveils $450M General Obligation Bond Initiative

A conceptual rendering of the renovated historic 1909 Building at Denver's National Western Center. Credit: City and County of Denver.

Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s administration has unveiled the details of a $450 million General Obligation (GO) bond initiative that promises to offer a boost to Denver’s economic recovery for years to come. The package, if referred by City Council this summer and approved by voters this November, would create an estimated 7,500 good-paying jobs and produce an estimated $483 million in worker wages and benefits, and $1 billion in economic benefits.

“Infrastructure is multi-generational. It creates the structures and facilities that in turn create jobs and enable prosperity,” Mayor Hancock said. “To sustain our recovery, our economy must work for everyone, and these proposed infrastructure investments will drive that value forward.”

The proposed GO bond package includes more than 80 distinct projects in all areas of Denver with a focus on equity and economic opportunity including:

  • Building a new state-of-the-art arena at National Western Center to create year-round jobs and provide funding for community programs and projects important to the well-being of the surrounding neighborhoods
  • More than $38 million to secure and improve facilities that serve people experiencing homelessness
  • 46 projects to address transportation safety in neighborhoods, address six miles of sidewalk gaps, and create another 16 miles of bike lanes
  • Improves and builds new playgrounds, athletic fields, and public restrooms
  • Builds and expands libraries in the un-served and under-served neighborhoods of Westwood, Globeville, and Hampden
  • Makes critical ADA improvements to ensure community assets are accessible to all residents
  • Preserves historic and beloved community structures for future generations, supports a food market in a current food desert, boosts Denver’s entertainment and cultural industries, and provides a safe, community space for youth

The ordinances are scheduled to be considered at Council’s next Finance and Governance Committee on Tues., Aug. 3, and, if advanced, will then move to Mayor-Council on Aug. 10, with the first possible opportunity for first reading at the full City Council on Aug. 16. If approved by City Council, the bond package will be referred for inclusion on the November 2021 ballot. If approved by voters, the bonds will be issued over time beginning in Spring 2022.

The city’s GO bonds are secured by dedicated property tax mills. The 2021 GO Bond proposal is expected to remain within the existing property tax rate for GO Bonds. Each bond issuance must be approved by City Council and is expected to be competitively sold based on the lowest cost to the Ccity.

Denver’s GO Bonds are currently rated “AAA” by all three major credit rating agencies who last reaffirmed the rating in November 2020 citing the city’s strong financial management prior to and during the pandemic.


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