Downtown Denver Partnership Adopts 2024 Policy Priorities

January 31, 2024

The Downtown Denver Partnership is committed to building an economically healthy, resilient, and vibrant center city for the benefit of all. Working collaboratively with our partners, including the City and County of Denver and State of Colorado, we advocate on behalf of business for policies that facilitate building a resilient, well-connected, economically powerful Downtown Denver. 

Our policy priorities are developed – and refined – based on annual feedback from our Members. By far the most pressing issue identified by Members, the Partnership must focus on advocating for funding and programs that ensure our center city is not only safe, but feels safe to all who work, visit, and reside here. 

With these priorities as our guide, we work to ensure that local and state legislative and ballot issues and policies positively impact our Members and downtown stakeholders, operating with the core belief that when business thrives, our city thrives. 

Our work is guided by a vision for a livable, healthy, and economically vibrant Downtown Denver as outlined in our five vision elements from the 2007 Downtown Area Plan: 

  • A Prosperous City: attracting jobs, growth and investment; 
  • A Walkable City: putting pedestrians first; 
  • A Diverse City: being a socially and economically inclusive place; 
  • A Distinctive City: cultivating a mosaic of urban districts; 
  • A Green City: sustainably utilizing resources and building an “outdoor downtown.” 

Under the leadership of the Public Policy Committee, the Downtown Denver Partnership has adopted the following policy priorities for 2024:

Safety, Security, and Public Health
Crime, public health issues (such as drug misuse, open drug use and mental health crises), and overall safety, real and perceived, must be addressed to help ensure a vibrant city center, to create the security necessary for more residents and employees to inhabit downtown, and to help businesses thrive and succeed.  

At the Downtown Denver Partnership, we stand for: 

  • Ensuring a downtown environment that is safe for all residents, visitors, employees, and employers and feels safe at all times of the day; We will work with the City, local law enforcement and other appropriate agencies (health care, mental health, substance misuse treatment, social service providers, etc.) to focus on the safety of our Downtown in the immediate- and long-term alike,  meaningfully supporting those in crisis through social service provision and also holding people who commit crimes accountable
  • Focusing on clean, safe, and active streets to attract people and drive business, we will continue our work with the public- and private-sectors to focus on clean and safe activities in lock-step with the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District.  
  • Ensuring that resources are readily available to support people experiencing homelessness and/or struggling with substance misuse; we will work with the City and State to advocate for meaningful public health resources that help those in need and mitigate community impact. 

Homelessness
Like our peer cities across the country, Denver has an opportunity to lead the way on addressing homelessness. Working alongside public-, private-, and philanthropic-sector partners to create and implement a multi-faceted, collaborative approach to supporting people experiencing homelessness. 

 At the Downtown Denver Partnership, we stand for: 

  • A model for addressing homelessness that prioritizes permanent shelter paired with comprehensive wrap around services; We will work with the City and State to advocate for policies that provide housing and services to support those experiencing homelessness. 
  • Dignity and safety for persons experiencing homelessness. People should sleep inside in a safe environment and the Unauthorized Camping Ordinance should be enforced; We will work with the City to stress the importance of the Ordinance and advocate for more resources to help address homelessness in our Downtown and surrounding areas. 
  • Government funds to address homelessness should be well-accounted for and deliver measurable impact with clear data and tangible deliverables; We will focus on solutions that are measurable and are shown to be making a positive impact.   
  • Increased efficiencies in the service provider ecosystem, including sheltered outcomes; We will work with the City (including the Mayor’s office and HOST), State and providers to continue to advocate for long-term solutions looking towards additional opportunities to innovate in service delivery that brings tangible outcomes.    

Housing
A focus on attainable housing that serves all levels of our dynamic workforce, drives pedestrian activity, and supports a vibrant groundfloor retail environment. That focus includes a commitment to increasing supply, density, and transit-oriented development. 

At the Downtown Denver Partnership, we stand for: 

  • Affordable, sustainable and diverse housing options for all, either downtown or in areas that are easily accessible to downtown by public transit; We will work with the City and State to advocate for more housing options (including through mechanisms like adaptive reuse) at all levels of affordability.  
  • Increasing – and limiting barriers to building – a diverse inventory of housing stock (for sale & rental) at all levels of affordability focusing on policies that help, not hinder, housing supply; We will work with stakeholders and partners to identify policies that help increase our housing supply and advocate on their behalf at the City and State when 4.  
  • Complete neighborhoods that offer a rich mix of amenities and services for individuals and families alike, including strong schools. 

Transportation and Mobility
Safe and reliable multimodal mobility networks that include well-connected regional transit systems that are safe and accessible for all supports economic growth, reduces congestion and pollution, and supports a growing workforce. 

At the Downtown Denver Partnership, we stand for: 

  • Safe, affordable, and reliable transportation options; We will work with RTD and the City to ensure safety is a top priority for officials on buses, trains, and at transportation facilities.  
  • An easy to use, well-connected and extensive transportation network (including public transportation) that works for everyone; We will continue working with regional partners to ensure our public transportation system is accessible, reliable, and safe.  
  • A multi-modal system that enables access to downtown by transit, bike, and sometimes vehicle; We will continue to work with the City on implementing Denver Moves: Downtown. 

Business Climate, Wages and Affordability, & Employee Recruitment and Retention
Advocating for a policy landscape that supports a business-friendly climate and is a catalyst for the growth – and regrowth -  necessary to fuel our city’s tax base, nonprofits, and economy. Efforts include a focus on workforce development, wages and affordability, employee’s recruitment and retention, and the rising costs of employment.  

At the Downtown Denver Partnership, we stand for: 

  • An economically robust community of both large and small businesses and nonprofits with a diverse employment base; We will advocate for policies that support our businesses, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, and their employees and focus on the economic vibrancy of our downtown area. 
  • Creating and fostering a business climate and tax policies that invites companies to do business here (grow their businesses, create jobs, etc.); We will work with the City and State to advocate on behalf of businesses, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs to ensure policies support their growth and ensure that state and local officials understand the critical importance of investing in, and supporting, a strong Downtown Denver.  
  • Employee retention and recruitment; We will work with Members to identify challenges in retention, recruitment return-to-office and work with the City and State to address those challenges.  
  • An inclusive, prosperous, growing, and economically diverse city where business thrives; We will market Downtown Denver as an innovative and creative place to work, live and play. 

Parks and Public Spaces
A downtown with more safe, attractive, and vibrant parks and public spaces accessible to all residents and visitors attracts people downtown and keeps them there longer, supporting our economy and overall levels of vibrancy. 

At the Downtown Denver Partnership, we stand for: 

  • Creating vibrant, inclusive parks, and public spaces through activation and events, innovative planning and design, and thorough, ongoing maintenance. 
  • Investments in the urban tree canopy; We will continue to implement the Urban Forest Initiative.  
  • Well-planned and well-maintained public spaces that are activated and drive economic activity; We will continue to work with the City to advocate for the resources necessary to ensure that public spaces are vibrant, inclusive, and safe creating opportunities for serendipity.  

For more information on the Downtown Denver Partnership’s policy and advocacy work, reach out to Britt Diehl, Director of External Affairs.