Globeville Elyria Swansea Coalition formally rejects the City of Denver’s ‘equitable’ process for development of the National Western Complex

DENVER – AUGUST 16th, 2021   Today, the Globeville Elyria Swansea Coalition (GES Coalition) issued a formal statement rejecting the City of Denver’s process for developing the National Western Complex, including the new arena and associated market. While Mayor Hancock claims that the process has been both just and equitable, GES Coalition asserts that the process has failed to meaningfully include the community, failed to address long-standing neighborhood concerns, and fails to provide development and recovery that is equitable for the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea residents, while failing to provide equitable recovery for Denver residents as a whole.

The most recent phase of development at the National Western Complex is part of a $400 million bond package for development and recovery, of which the proposed arena accounts for more than 40% of the budget. The proposed 2021 “RISE Denver” bond has come under criticism from city council and the general public, citing the rushed process, questioning the need for a new arena, and highlighting the negative impacts on residents in the neighborhoods surrounding the National Western Complex. 

Alfonso Espino, spokesperson for GES Coalition and life-long resident of the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood, says ‘An arena is not what the Globeville Elyria Swansea neighborhoods need. The development of this area will further dispossess our community of its land and homes, and continue a legacy of exploitative development that fails to provide services that our community actually needs, like affordable housing or economic opportunities.’

GES Coalition asserts that any development of the neighborhood must include granting of land back to the community – land taken by the city in previous development projects – along with a meaningful partnership with the local communities that gives them decision-making power over future development plans. Additionally GES Coalition asserts that the bond funds for the arena are better spent on equitable recovery projects, such as permanent housing solutions for the unhoused, investments in rent controlled and subsidized housing, and improvements in economic opportunities.

Espino adds ‘The city has repeatedly made false promises to our community for equitable development, and investment in the community. We are still waiting for them to deliver on these decade-old promises. And now, we refuse to accept the bond proposal knowing the neighborhoods will again be the victims, not the recipients, of the development projects. Repairing decades of harms is not, nor should be tied to the building of a new arena, the fact that the city is postulating it in this manner speaks volumes about how they view our communities and the people that inhabit them.

Contact information:

GES Coalition Spokesperson: Alfonso Espino, (720) 829-2340 - somos bilingües en inglés y español

General media enquiries: Sarah Lake, (720) 601-8763