Our suitcases are unpacked and our attentions have been turned back to local issues, but The Chamber still has Rocky Mountain Fever! We heard so many excellent presentations on our 2009 Leadership Exchange visit to Denver that we wanted to share some of the more detailed information and presentations with you.
Mike Dino, Senior Policy Advisor for Patton Boggs, led Denver’s effort to land the Democratic National Convention in August 2008. His presentation astounded us with the numbers of events, delegates, media and support staff involved, as well as the economic impact on the region. Security was a regional effort, with every police officer in their metro area working overtime at the venues to ensure that everything ran smoothly. Download the presentation >>
Phillip Washington, Interim Director of Denver’s Regional Transportation District, and Maria Garcia Berry, CEO of CRL Associates, spoke about FasTracks, the metro area’s plan to build and operate high speed rail lines, expand and improve bus service and Park-n-Rides throughout the region. FasTracks is funded through a combination of funding sources, including a voter-approved sales tax increase of 0.4 percent (4 pennies on every $10), passed in 2004. Washington told us how costs are rising and sales tax revenues are not keeping up, so there is concern about being able to finish the project by the 2017 targeted build-out date. Garcia Berry told us how the funding mechanism worked and how the original campaign was very well received… including a unanimous vote of support from all 32 regional mayors making up the Denver Metro Mayors’ Caucus.
Download the FasTracks presentations we heard in Denver:
Our visit included a tour of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory facilities, and a presentation by NREL’s Executive Director of Communications & External Affairs, Robert Noun. He talked about their goals to expedite the commercialization and widespread adoption of renewable energy technologies by encouraging research and innovation. Download the presentation >>
Another tax widely supported by Denver area residents to sustain their regional assets is the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD). Peg Long, Executive Director of the Denver SCFD, told us that since 1989, SCFD has distributed funds from a 1/10 of 1% sales and use tax to cultural facilities throughout the seven-county Denver metropolitan area. The funds support cultural facilities whose primary purpose is to enlighten and entertain the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement and preservation of art, music, theatre, dance, zoology, botany, natural history and cultural history. There is a definite collaborative spirit around SCFD, which has been renewed twice: “Everybody pays, and everybody benefits.” Download the presentation >>