The city has trimmed down the list of projects a proposed bond package could pay for in Denver

The general obligation bonds would need to be approved by voters this fall.

Santa Fe Drive in West Denver on Thursday, July 15, 2021. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

Santa Fe Drive in West Denver on Thursday, July 15, 2021. (Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The list of potential projects paid by a proposed $400 million bonding package has shrunk from roughly 200 to about 80.

Laura Perry, the city’s capital planning and program director, told city lawmakers during a meeting on Thursday about the 77 capital projects under consideration that would be paid by the proposed bonding package that voters would need to approve this fall.

The preliminary list is broken into two tiers, but it provides a clearer picture of how city lawmakers, city’s agencies and the public want the money to be spent. The list was cut down from a list of about 130 projects by a committee tasked with identifying projects that could be funded by the bond package. That list had been previously included about 200 projects.

The 77 projects total about $1 billion, so it will be narrowed down before City Council decides to forward any bond proposals to voters in November. That will be done over the next few weeks, and it has to be completed by next month, before the deadline for the council to forward ballot measures to voters, which is in late August.

The city’s finance office has framed the bonding package as a recovery effort to help pay for local projects, which they believe will help create more local jobs. The city hopes the bond package and the $308 million the city will get from the federal American Rescue Plan will boost the city’s economic recovery.

Among the projects the committee found could be paid for by the bonding package:

  • Citywide ADA implementation ($34.7 million)
  • Improvements to libraries, including the Central Library and Westwood branches ($71.4 million )
  • Citywide bike infrastructure implementation ($21.8 million)
  • Citywide sidewalk construction ($12 million)
  • Rec center improvements across the city ($17.8 million)
  • Santa Fe Drive streetscape improvements ($24 million)

Perry noted that there are stipulations for how bond money can be used. It must be spent on capital expenses, like public buildings such as libraries and fire stations, and infrastructure like roads, pedestrian malls and sidewalks.

The money can’t pay for operations or private interests; it has to benefit the public.

The city must also own the things the bonds are paying for, Perry said, though the city does want to use bond money to help buy hotels and motels to renovate them so they can serve people experiencing homelessness as supportive housing.

A city council committee will get more details about the bond proposal and discuss projects on July 27 and August 3. The proposal is expected to come before the full City Council on August 16.

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