Best New City Facility (2011)
Four years after voters approved a hefty package of civic improvements, the Better Denver Bond Program is finally paying off like a born-again bookie. The bond issue has yielded a new rec center in Stapleton, a new greenhouse at the Denver Botanic Gardens and makeovers of several libraries, with a new police crime lab still to come. But perhaps the most impressive new addition is this airy, light-filled, 26,000-square-foot temple of books and media on the way to DIA, in an area underserved by the libraries of surrounding Aurora. Loaded with aviation-themed features (from a real cockpit for kids to propeller-shaped benches to the aerodynamic ceiling panels), the Green Valley branch is bright, huge, technologically savvy — and ready to take off.