DENVER — Proponents of Denver Initiated Ordinance 307, which will move the bulk of responsibilities for sidewalk repairs to the city rather than property owners, declared victory Sunday as the measure is currently passing by around 24,000 votes.
Organizers with Denver Streets Partnership, which gathered the signatures to get the measure on the ballot, said in a news release Sunday afternoon they believe the measure “is on a clear path to victory” as passage currently leads rejection of the measure 55% to 45% and about 24,000 votes as of Monday morning.
Passage of the measure would make the city responsible for repairing old sidewalks and building new ones, but the projects would be paid for through a fee on property owners that the city would then leverage into bonds to pay for the projects. The fees would be based on how much a person’s land faces a street, as well as the type of street. The Denver Department of Transportation would manage the program and prioritize construction.
Denver Streets Partnership has said it would cost homeowners an average of $107 per year and that low-income households would get a discount, with the hopes the project could be done in nine years. But the city estimates it would actually take more than 27 years to make all the improvements.
Some lower-income Denver residents said ahead of the election they were opposed to the measure because they are on fixed incomes and can’t afford the extra fees. Others see million-dollar townhomes with little yard space potentially paying less than some of those homeowners.
But people with disabilities who have to use other wheelchairs or devices to help them walk have long had issues with Denver’s mishmash of sidewalk infrastructure, which property owners are currently responsible for maintaining.
Jill Locantore and Molly McKinley, the executive director and policy director for Denver Streets partnership, respectively, said they were pleased by the measure’s potential passage.
“This outcome is the culmination of many years of advocacy by residents and community groups who have been calling for better sidewalks in Denver,” Locantore said. “We look forward to working with City Council and the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to ensure successful implementation of the program.”
Denver continues to count ballots this week. Voters have until Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. to cure a signature discrepancy, and Wednesday is also the last day for county clerks to receive military and overseas ballots. Friday is the final day for counties to finish all in-person and accepted mail ballots.