Twenty Years of Denver

Coors Field opens one block from the Westword office. The Rockies win the Western division, only to be demolished by the soon-to-be World Series champs, the Atlanta Braves. LoDo, once dismissed as a place where young people would never come for fun, is overrun by baseball fans of all ages looking for entertainment before and after the game. The hospitality industry obliges, opening countless restaurants, nightclubs and pubs within a five-block radius of the stadium. But the lessons of Skyline have been learned: 90 percent of LoDo is designated as historic, and no historic building can be razed for a parking lot.

While the development of LoDo moves urban outsdoorsmen north on Larimer, an estimated 3,300 people are on the street in the six-county metro area on any given night. Domestic violence, lack of low-income housing, and rents that have risen faster than wages are blamed for the 18 percent rise in homelessness in Colorado since 1990.

Elitch's moves to the Central Platte Valley, after more than a century of being synonymous with northwest Denver. The last of the major downtown department stores, Joslins, closes. The Tattered Cover opens a second location, at 16th and Wynkoop, across from the Post Office's Terminal Annex.

CU regents finally buy out Judith Albino's contract, but the bitterness lingers. The Resolution Trust Corp. goes out of business, its job of liquidating bad savings and loans concluded two years ahead of schedule.

John Davis, son of Marvin, produces Waterworld for sometime Aspen resident Kevin Costner. Andy Garcia shows us Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead.

After a year of unrelenting cuteness, the Denver Zoo's star polar bear cubs, Klondike and Snow, go to live the good life in Orlando. Although Channel 4's exhaustive coverage of the pair does not win an Emmy, as a consolation prize Denver receives both the news director who orchestrated award-winning coverage of the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building and the trial of the suspects in the bombing. Melissa Klinzing soon hires anchor Natalie Pujo but can't convince the station to buy the poor woman a chair.

US West meets the PUC's December 31 deadline to eliminate all party lines in the state. The company has already sold off most of its truly rural exchanges to other carriers, making the job less of a burden.

The National Hockey League leaves Quebec as the Nordiques become the Avalanche--which goes on to win the Stanley Cup during its first season on the ice at McNichols Arena.

1996: The federal government shuts down for three weeks. No one notices.
Pat Schroeder is out of a job after 24 years in Congress, and Diana DeGette is elected to represent Denver. Dick Lamm is lured by Ross Perot to run for the nomination of the Reform Party, only to have the little sociopath pull the rug out from under him.

Since 1991, the state's population has increased by a half-million, including a net gain of 30,000 newborn natives. The metro area grows 15 percent since 1990, adding close to 45,000 residents this year alone, the largest influx since 1973. Douglas County grows by 52 percent, Denver by 6 percent, and housing now costs 18 percent more than the national average. Coloradans get married at the lowest rate since 1962.

In its first full year of operation, DIA sees nearly 1 million fewer passengers than in the last year at Stapleton.

Oren Benton is relieved of his share of the Rockies. The largest of the old family companies, Gates Rubber Co., is acquired by Tomkin PLC, a London-based conglomerate that also owns gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson. Columbia has laid off more than 300 health-care workers. Omaha-based Union Pacific buys Southern Pacific for $5.4 billion, completing the largest rail merger in history. Philip Anschutz--don't call him a billionaire!--holds 26 percent of SP stock and becomes UP's largest shareholder. The UP and rival Burlington Northern-Santa Fe are the only large Western railroads left. Service deteriorates accordingly.

Vail buys Keystone, Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin ski areas. In an ill-timed campaign, Copper Mountain tries to position itself as Colorado's last locally owned resort; a month later, it is purchased by Interwest Corp. of Canada.

The paraboloid comes down to make way for an expansion of Adam's Mark's coveted 1,000 hotel rooms. The new Denver Public Library opens, better than ever. Developers look to the nearby Golden Triangle as the next LoDo.

Park Meadows Retail Resort--don't call it a mall!--opens at the intersection of C-470 and I-25, offering upscale shopping previously unheard of in Denver. Cherry Creek Shopping Center takes a direct hit in sales and reaches out to Cherry Creek North for cooperative marketing, with craptacular results. Traffic patterns around both centers are hopeless.

Promise Keepers, a men-only group founded by former CU coach Bill McCartney to spread the word about the lessons supposedly learned from overcoming familial dysfunctions as detailed in Westword, holds 22 stadium events attended by 1.1 million weeping men.

HIV kills more people in the state than either blood poisoning or homicide.
After finally settling a raft of lawsuits against Mission Viejo over expansive soils that have cracked foundations throughout the development, the owners of Highlands Ranch take umbrage at a National Geographic photo that portrays their slice of suburban heaven as little more than a sea of overpriced dwellings set too close together, the epitome of urban sprawl and irresponsible overdevelopment.

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