For nearly three decades, great mayors have led Denver. Thanks to the vision and sound leadership of Mayors Pena, Webb and Hickenlooper, Denver is indeed a Great City. Today, the Queen City of the Plains enjoys a world-class airport and convention facilities, four major sports franchises, and LoDo, which is a model for inner-city development nationwide. Just last year, Forbes Magazine named Denver the sixth best city in the country to do business. Our homegrown assets are unmatched and the entrepreneurial spirit of our citizens continues to define us, even through tough economic times. As Denver's next mayor I will put my experience and vision to work to grow Denver's economy and Move Denver Forward.
My vision for economic development is not just looking at what we can do in the next twelve years but rather a plan that will create jobs and economic development opportunities for decades to come. Specifically, my plan to Move Denver Forward will include:
I. Development of the South Platte River and moving Infill Projects Forward
Since we cannot easily expand Denver's borders we must look internally for development opportunities. Urban river development has historically made tremendous impact on the local economy. As mayor, I will work with developers, business leaders and the local community to develop the Platte River from the Overland Golf Course on our southern border, through Sun Valley and Confluence Park, to River North and Globeville.
I will move forward with the infill projects at Union Station, 8th and Colorado, and St. Anthony's Hospital. These locations provide unique development opportunities, create jobs and enhance the communities in which they are located.
II. The Denver International Airport and Surrounding Areas
The Denver International Airport is Denver's gateway to the world and greatly contributes to our economy. Yet DIA has not reached its full potential. I fully support the extension of light rail from downtown to the airport and the planned hotel at DIA. As mayor, I will advocate for the development of thousands of surrounding acres into light manufacturing, business parks and travel related development with hotels and conference centers. I will work with airport officials, the business community, developers and the surrounding jurisdictions to ensure DIA reaches its full potential.
III. Denver Is Open for Business
When I am mayor, Denver will be Open for Business. I will ensure that employers stay and new businesses are brought to Denver. During my administration, I will reduce the bureaucracy that slows the pace of business growth and discourages relocation. Small business owners and those looking to start up will find an ally in the city. I will work to open up capital and facilitate building business relationships to help small business grow.
IV. The Buy Denver Initiative
Buying locally generates money for the Denver economy. I will introduce the Buy Denver Initiative (BDI) with two objectives: giving priority to local companies in the city's procurement process and promoting Denver products to the consumer. I will work to promote Denver-made products to Denver consumers, national and international markets.
Sound economic development is vital for Denver's future. On my first day in office I will move forward with my economic plan. I will rely on my experience as the project manager overseeing the construction of a $425 million capital project for the city, the Denver Justice Center, delivered on time and on budget. I will rely on my experience as a former city executive managing the Department of Parks and Recreation to lead Denver through the serious budget deficit we currently face. Finally, I will rely on my passion, as a native son, born and raised in Park Hill; I will rely on my love of Denver; and finally, I will rely on my belief that Denver's best days are ahead in my work to Move Denver Forward.
Please visit www.MejiaForMayor.com to read the full version of "Moving Denver Forward through Economic Development" which was released at a January 27, 2011 press conference in Denver's Sun Valley neighborhood.
Follow James Mejia on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MejiaForMayor