DENVER, Colo. -- For a couple years, creating more opportunity for the disadvantaged — the people and places left out of Denver’s recent prosperity — has been a theme of Mayor Michael Hancock’s annual speeches taking stock of the city.
But Monday’s State of the City address felt different. He gave scant mention to huge projects that he hopes could become legacy-shapers for him, instead focusing like a laser on what his administration plans to do to reduce the economic, social and racial disparities that threaten to undermine the city’s success.
“Opportunity is the right of everyone,” Hancock told a crowd of hundreds on the plaza outside the new Westin hotel at Denver International Airport. “Progress doesn’t have to leave anyone behind — it should bring everyone along.
“And this I commit to you: We will take action to make this vision a reality. Your city will be with you every step of the way. We will show up. We will lean in. And we will never give up. And we will succeed — all of us, together.”
Though none of his announcements landed like a blockbuster, together they reflected Denver’s challenges amid a development boom and overall strong economy. They are geared at expanding on efforts to increase the availability of affordable housing, to help people stay in gentrifying neighborhoods, to improve transportation access, to remove remaining barriers to jobs and to get more homeless people into housing.
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