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City of Denver officials respond on future of National Western Center after 2E bond shot down

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Posted at 5:05 PM, Nov 04, 2021

DENVER — The people have spoken on ballot measure 2E, overwhelmingly voting no on a $190,000,000 bond for repairs, improvements and additions to the National Western Campus Facilities.

The "no" vote comes as phase one of the National Western Center continues, which includes construction of the Colorado State University buildings.

Alfonso Espino lives in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood, which is already seeing a lot of construction but not the kind Espino wants for his community. He was one of 53,653 voters who voted against ballot question 2E.

"They were going to take on this debt to go build a stadium when we have the biggest housing insecurity in decades in Denver, when we have a homeless population problem but we can’t put them anywhere," Espino said.

The four other bonds on the ballot did pass. The money will go towards things like the homeless crisis and building libraries in other parts of town.

"I was very pleased with the outcome," Mayor Michael Hancock said in an interview on Denver7’s Thursday morning newscast talking about the bonds that passed.

He also addressed the one that didn't pass.

"We’ve already sat down and begun the process to think about what the next steps look like for developing the arena. I believe we will get it done. We have to get it done. We have a commitment to this arena that we will get the arena built, get the 1909 building restored and activated, and we’re committed to that. We will figure it out," Hancock said.

A statement from National Western Center CEO Brad Buchanan said, in part, "We will now turn our attention to working collaboratively and creatively with the City and County of Denver and partners to pursue other funding avenues."

Neither Buchanan nor the city can say right now what those avenues are, but the plan remains to tear down the coliseum for a new 10,000 seat arena and to renovate the 1909 building to make it a public market the city says would be for the surrounding neighborhoods.

Tuesday night, Denver City Councilwoman Candi Cdebaca weighed in on what she’d like to see put into her district, which included grocery stores, housing and a community center.

"The community should get to decided what goes on the other half of the National Western campus," Cdebaca said.

This year’s Western Stock show will still be held at the National Western Complex. Visitors this year will get to see parts of the new facilities on the west side of the center.