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Denver City Council OKs new plan for Stock Show

Author: Kristy

By Anthony Cotton
The Denver Post

The Denver City Council on Monday voted to move forward with a 10-year makeover plan for the National Western Stock Show site, with proponents promising that the $856 million project would represent a transformative experience for the neighborhood and the city.

“This is about creating a place that we have never seen or known before,” said Brad Buchanan, the executive director of Denver’s Department of Community Planning and Development.

The council voted 11-0, with two members absent, for the plan, which calls for the creation of a major year-round event facility, education center and entertainment complex centered on the annual 16-day event.

“The National Western and the neighborhood are at a crossroad,” said City Councilwoman Judy Montero. “This will help us move forward.”

There have been questions about how the project would be financed, and representatives of the National Western created a bit of a buzz Monday when they pledged $125 million to the effort. Previous reports had held the amount being put forward by the group at about $50 million.

“We were just feeling generous tonight,” joked Ron Williams, the chairman of the National Western Association, before expounding that the $125 million represented $50 million in cash, with the rest represented by land and buildings that would comprise the difference.

At one point during the public testimony phase of the meeting, Buchanan said the “quality and future” of the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods that would likely be affected by the project were dependent on the plan’s passage.

Of the 20 people who signed up to speak, there were only a couple who spoke against it. Those speakers argued that the project was a misguided effort that would have little to no impact on the people living near the site.

“It’s an elaborate, multimillion-dollar plan to build a home for cattle at the expense of more beneficial spending for the neighborhood, like affordable housing,” said Thad Tecza, a political science instructor at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

But Buchanan and other supporters insist that local residents have participated in the project’s development from its onset.

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