Denver's ballot measure 2C: What you need to know

DENVER - The election is a little more than a week away and Denver is asking voters to pass four ballot measures.

One of them is 2C, a plan that would upgrade the National Western Stock Show while also making improvements to the Convention Center.

The clever pro-2C commercials featuring Denver Mayor Michael Hancock are hard to miss.

"When you vote yes on 2C you won't just be renewing one of our oldest traditions," said one advertisement. "You'll also be restoring historic neighborhoods, and helping boost our tourism industry."

It goes on to say, "All without raising taxes. Vote yes on 2C. It's a smart deal for Denver and that's no bull."

But is it really a smart deal for Denver?

"It's kind of like buying a pig and a pike and that's no bull," said former Denver City Councilwoman Susan Barnes-Gelt.

"2C will transform the entire complex into a 365 day a year agricultural research, as well as entertainment complex," said Paul Andrews, CEO and President of the National Western Stock Show. "The National Western Complex has really become obsolete based on many studies."

Andrews said 2C will help pay for needed upgrades at the complex, create thousands of jobs and build a state-of-the-art equestrian facility.

However, critics like Barnes-Gelt aren't so sure.

"Anytime they say vote for this tax cause you're not gonna pay, it's kind of like, 'Are their lips moving?'" she said.

Denver is asking voters to increase the city's debt up to $778 million and extend a 1.75% tourism tax on hotels and car rentals indefinitely.

"I think about a forever tax. We don't do forever taxes in Colorado, period," said Barnes-Gelt.

"Those tax funds will continue on to support both the Convention Center and the National Western Center to make sure it's as beautiful 100 years from now and as it is when we build it," further explained Andrews.

Money from 2C will also be used to make improvements to the Convention Center, clean up nearly a mile of the South Platte River and fund a year-round farmers market.

"It will generate,  some estimates are in the $200 million a year,  in economic impact," said Andrews.

Barnes-Gelt said she supports the idea, but doesn't think the finances are completely worked out.

"Tighten up your land plan, tighten up your finance plan and come back," she said.

While supporters like Andrews disagree.

"This quite frankly should be an easy yes vote for people," he said.

The 10-year project is expected to cost more than $800 million. The state has agree to pitch in $250 million, but only if 2C passes.


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