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Denver voters to decide on new arena project

Denver City Council has elected to let the public decide on the latest proposal to deliver a new arena for the US city.

The Council has voted 9-4 to put the arena project on a ballot scheduled for November, with the scheme having only been unveiled last month.

Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration outlined plans to develop a new arena for Denver as the headline item of a $450m (£328.1m/€383.4m) General Obligation (GO) bond package targeted at infrastructure projects.

The proposed GO bond package includes more than 80 distinct projects in all areas of Denver with a focus on equity and economic opportunity. Expected to have a seating capacity of around 10,000, the new “state-of-the-art arena” is being planned for the National Western Center site and is set to receive the largest share of the spending proposal, $160m.

A new 10,000-seat arena was part of a development masterplan that was approved for the National Western Center in 2015, but ultimately failed to secure funding. The new arena is intended to take over from the Denver Coliseum, which opened in 1951.

Local broadcaster CBS4 said residents close to the National Western Center site have expressed misgivings over the project. A community investment fund has been pledged for the new arena, but was also promised for the failed 2015 project.

“To date we still do not have any commitments on what that revenue stream would be or where it would come from,” said Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca. “We’re asking for something real, tangible.”

The Globeville Elyria Swansea (GES) coalition has called on the City to use the land for housing, among other community benefits. “Our futures are not exclusively tied to a public arena,” added Alfonso Espino, a member of the GES.

Image: Andrew Coop on Unsplash