DENVER (CBS4) – In Colorado, even losing in the Mega Millions lottery can mean better things for the state.

Little Raven Street wasn’t lined with glass apartment towers seen today when Ann Poucher moved to Denver 16 years ago. She came for an “urban oasis.”

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“Every time we talk about moving somewhere else, we come back to the fact that we couldn’t do any better,” said Poucher.

Commons Park is one of Denver’s crowned jewels. It’s funded largely by the success of the Colorado Lottery. More than $4.5 million in lottery proceeds went to changing the industrial site into the park it is today.

(credit: CBS)

Nearly a quarter of every dollar, Coloradans spend on lottery tickets go to similar projects.

“I moved here from California, from San Francisco and we don’t have parks like this there,” said one man.

In the last 35 years, Colorado has raised more than $3.2 billion from the lottery largely funding parks, conservation and a smaller percentage to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“It’s a good cause all around, and I think Denver does a good job maintaining it.”

The state has caps for how much money can go toward those projects from lottery funds. When the money exceeds that amount, about $68 million a year, it goes to the same place marijuana taxes go as well — fixing dilapidated schools.

“Make you want to play more?” asked CBS4’s Stan Bush.

“Yeah, I’m going to buy a ticket,” Poucher said.

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