Denver Mayor Delivers State Of City Address

Hickenlooper Addresses Economic Development, Homelessness, Cultural Buildings

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper delivered his second state of the city address Thursday, touching on some priorities for next year and highlighting the accomplishments of the past two years.

The address, delivered at Civic Center Park, comes at the midpoint of his career as mayor.

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper delivers his second state of the city address.

The mayor talked a lot about economic development -- including how the FasTracks plan to improve mass transit will help with that.

"Thanks to the voters for their tremendous achievement in passing FasTracks, the most ambitious mass transit effort in the country today," Hickenlooper said. "As we begin its implementation, we are working with City Council and the Public Works, Planning and Economic Development departments to plan 30 stations in Denver for transit-oriented development. If we don't plan today, the opportunity will be lost forever. The crowning jewel will be the redevelopment of Denver Union Station."

He also touched on ways to increase tourism and boost the cultural vitality of the city.

"The stunning Ellie Caulkins Opera House, one of the world's finest facilities of its kind, will open this September in the renovated Quigg Newton Auditorium. With the Ellie, the new Hamilton Building of the Denver Art Museum, the eagerly anticipated Museum of Contemporary Art and Clyfford Still Museum, Denver will shine as an international cultural destination," he said. "These projects demonstrate our commitment to quality urban design. To further that commitment, we are creating the Mayor's Design Commission, enabling the city to tap the wisdom of Denver's design community for guidance on city projects and major redevelopment opportunities. We are assembling expert juries to select signature architects for our new Justice Center. We also will launch the Mayor's Design Awards in October, celebrating quality design in small-scale projects throughout Denver's neighborhoods. Great cities are just as enriched by many small and beautifully designed projects as they are by large and bold civic gestures."

The mayor also talked about his plan to end homelessness in the city in the coming 10 years.

"Government alone, cannot solve this problem. But we can serve as a catalyst and convener ... We presently spend roughly $70 million a year on back-end services that are clearly not addressing the root problems of homelessness. Our plan to end homelessness will cost less than $13 million annually, combining dramatic net savings with measurable results," he said.

He also talked about city's first priority -- keeping its citizens safe.

"Despite the city's ongoing fiscal constraints, we increased our police budget by eight percent this year. This will enable us to hire 169 new officers by the end of 2005 to stem the tide of attrition and put more officers on our streets. This year, we will find the resources to again fill our training academy classes."

"Improved technology is an important foundation for our crime-fighting efforts. Before the year's end, we will provide officers in every police vehicle with the capability of electronically accessing national crime information. Next year, our officers will be able to receive mug shots in their vehicles. And by the end of 2007, we will integrate all of our safety department and court records, allowing us to better track people through the justice system and target alternatives to sentencing and diversionary efforts," he said.

Last year, the mayor used this address to talk about problems in the Denver police force, building a new jail and economic revitalization for areas such as Colfax Avenue. The mayor has enjoyed success in those areas and updated the residents and city council on those issues as well Thursday.

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