By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4)– While discussing Denver’s future, focused on bringing solutions for homelessness, crime, and economic equity in the State of the City address, Mayor Michael Hancock also wanted to leave one lasting legacy at the National Western Complex. The mayor said he’s bringing forward a $450 million bond that will include a new arena.

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“Building a new state-of-the-art arena and the new events it will attract will create year-round jobs and provide funding for community programs and projects,” Hancock said.

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Denver voters approved a ballot measure in 2015 that helped fund a massive expansion and renovations to the National Western Complex. A new 10,000-person arena was part of a Master Plan approved in 2015 too, but the funding wasn’t secured. The city had explored a public-private partnership to revitalize the 1909 Stadium Arena and build the new arena, but city officials say the COVID-19 Pandemic canceled those plans.

Now the city is hoping voters will approve the bond to fund the arena and other projects around the city.

“The arena will really be the economic driver behind all of the entire National Western Center campus,” said Jenna Espinoza-Garcia, with the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center. “We need this midsize arena both to compete on a national scale, but also it will locally provide thousands of jobs both short and long-term opportunities.”

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The mayor said on Monday the bond would bring more than 7,000 jobs and $1 billion in economic impact just from the construction of projects.
The city is also hoping as part of the construction and operation of the new arena, a community fund will be established to help neighboring communities.

“Ticket buyers and event-goers will have the opportunity to round up their purchases, and that money would be put into a Community Investment Fund, which would ultimately go back to the Globeville, Elyria-Swansea communities,” Espinoza-Garcia said.

The new arena would take over hosting duties from the nearly 70-year-old Denver Coliseum for expos, sporting events, and also the rodeos associated with the stock show. Plans for the Coliseum’s future aren’t being publicly discussed but the building would become obsolete and allow for more development on the south end of the National Western Center.

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The bond measure will be presented to a Denver City Council committee on Tuesday with potential passage needed within about a month to make the November ballot.

Jeff Todd