Denver’s ready to spend the first chunk of close to a billion dollars voters approved last year

Denver City Council unanimously voted to approve the initial investments into community projects that will cost $193 million in total.
3 min. read
A rendering of a possible bus rapid transit design on Colfax. (Denver Public Works)

The $937 million GO Bond package Denver voters approved last November is finally getting put into action. Denver City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to approve the initial investments into community projects that will cost $193 million in total.

Taking on debt for the GO Bond follows Denver’s strategy of undertaking a significant borrowing cycle roughly once a decade, the last major bond was taken out in 2008. This bond, however, will not be funded by through increases in taxes. Instead, they will be supported by rising property values. Because property in Denver is worth more than it used to be, the city collects more money even though it is charging the same tax rate for debt service.

After receiving an update on the status of the projects, council unanimously voted to move forward with the $193 million in spending. While there are dozens of projects that will be funded with the first wave of the bond, every recommended cultural facility has notably made the first round.

The bond has been issued in categories, all of which will receive a significant amount of the $193 million.

The transportation system will receive about $41 million for things like street paving, the Colfax Bus Rapid Transit system and significant improvements to pedestrian and bicycle safety at several locations.

Improvements to cultural facilities will total $65 million, including the following:

  • Denver Art Museum - $25 million
  • Denver Botanic Gardens - $12 million
  • Denver Museum of Nature and Science Deferred Maintenance - $11 million
  • Denver Zoo - $10 million
  • Denver Center for the Performing Arts - $6 million

The Denver Health and Hospital Authority will receive $45 million for the Denver Health outpatient facility.

The city’s safety facilities like county jails, fire stations, and police stations will be issued just over $5.4 million.

Blair Caldwell Branch, Byers Branch, Smiley Branch and DPL Central Branch libraries will see improvements, costing just over $5.3 million in total.

The parks system will see a sizable chunk of the bond as and between the various entities will receive just over $30.5 million. Notably, the Paco Sanchez Re-Imagine Play and the Arkins Court RiNo Promenade will experience improvements that cost over $5 million.

Lastly, public facilities will receive $627 thousand for improvements from the first issuance of the bond.

Not all of these projects are going to begin construction at once, and many of them are receiving money to facilitate the design process. The entire list of projects can be found here.

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