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Opponents of Failed Denver Measure 2E Say Denver Has Bigger Needs Than An Arena

DENVER (CBS)- The day after Denver Measure 2E was voted down, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said he thinks his office didn't sell it well enough. It was the only measure in his $450 million bond package that didn't pass.

Measure 2E asked voters to approve funding for Phase 3 of development at the National Western Campus.

"We knew it was going to be an uphill battle," said the Mayor. "We didn't tell the story well enough in terms of what it would be used for."

It was billed as a pandemic recovery initiative that would have funded the construction of a new arena on the National Western Campus, and improved infrastructure. The mayor says it would have created thousands of jobs, in addition to investing in the Elyria, Swansea and Globeville neighborhoods.

Construction Worker Working at National Western
(credit: CBS)

The funds would have transformed the historic 1909 building on the National Western Grounds into a public market in an area recognized by the USDA as a food desert - providing not only food, but additional jobs for residents.

It also would have generated a revenue source for use in the neighborhood through a surcharge for tickets and concessions at events.

"We could have immediately created a financial opportunity for the community," said Hancock.

swansea neighborhood
(credit: CBS)

Opponents say Denver residents they talked with said that proposal, had it passed, wouldn't have addressed any of the needs of their communities and they thought it was a bad use of recovery funds.

national western building
(credit: CBS)

"There are some elements of it. There was a roundup fund where customers at the National Western could round up their purchases, but it was literally cents on the dollar from what the community wanted," said Sarah Lake the Campaign Manager for "No On The Arena Bond."

"The food needs of the community were really clear. They don't have a grocery store. It's a food desert, and the city's response was a fancy food hall."

In the future, Lake says residents hope the city will cooperate with them and listen to what they need when they make plans for the National Western Campus.

"It was very much designed by developers and not by the community," she said.

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