Off Limits

To market, to market: Funny, but we could swear that just a month ago Mayor Wellington Webb said he didn't think Stapleton was an appropriate place for a new football stadium. Late last week, however, in light of reports that the proposed November vote on a taxpayer-subsidized replacement for Mile High could be stalled by snafus in site selection, the abandoned airport was suddenly looking mighty good as a potential home for the Broncos--particularly compared with McNichols Arena, a venue that would need its current tenants to vacate (presumably, the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche would move on to their own Pepsi Center), adding several years' delay to any stadium construction. Or compared with Denver losing the Broncos altogether, a possibility looking increasingly real after Broncos owner Pat Bowlen dropped the "D" from his team's helmets.

Stapleton Development officials, who'd previously backed Webb's objections to building a stadium at the old airport--the roads were built for a very different kind of traffic, spokesman Tom Gleason points out--had to alter their course a bit when they began hearing the pitter-patter of little horse hooves. "We still have some serious reservations, but we agreed to take a look at it," Gleason says, adding that his group will be taking the issue to its citizens' advisory board.

While the city keeps shopping around sites, Stapleton itself has become an unlikely shopping mecca. The grandly named Denver City Market--which advertises itself more accurately as "Colorado's largest flea market"--is in the midst of a six-week stay on the grounds. "Like a lot of interim uses, we looked at it very carefully," says Gleason. The market is paying $8,000 for its permit, which runs into March with the chance of renewal. (Hey! The Broncos could use a table at the flea market to sell some of those old orange jerseys!) And in the meantime, Gleason says, the market's proprietors are helping to fix up their rented Stapleton space, two old aircraft hangars that had fallen into disrepair but have historic value: They were designed over fifty years ago by famed Denver architect Temple Buell. Ironically, Buell was also the developer of Cherry Creek--Denver's first shopping center.

And if Park Meadows continues to cut into Cherry Creek's sales figures, maybe the Broncos could get a good deal on a site at First Avenue and University.

Up against the wall: These days, watching a Denver Nuggets game is about as exciting as watching paint dry. But the team's sorry status wasn't reason enough for artist Mike Stemple, creator of the giant sports mural painted on the back of a building overlooking I-25 at Platte Street, to replace the figure of long-traded Dikembe Mutombo with an athlete from a more successful team--say, the Avalanche. Instead, Stemple recently removed Mutombo in favor of LaPhonso Ellis--possibly because the Nuggets were willing to cover the cost of the paint job. But Stemple's updating job is far from done. John Elway, who's featured front and center alongside Andres Galarraga and Ellis, is shown wearing the outdated, if beloved, orange jersey.

Given the uncertain status of this town's professional sports teams, wouldn't it be easier to just slipcover the building?

What pills!: Even before he reached the operating room, Wellington Webb probably wished he could conduct his own surgical strike on a few members of the media. Although most of the TV and newspaper outlets contacted by the mayor's office Sunday agreed to embargo news of Webb's prostate cancer until a scheduled 1:30 p.m. press conference that day--and also agreed to leave the mayor alone with his family in the meantime--one eager-beaver reporter from Channel 7 was knocking on the front door of Webb's home within twenty minutes of the first alert. The real pain-in-the-rear award, though, goes to the producer of Peter "All Ramsey, All the Time" Boyles, who called mayoral spokesman Andrew Hudson at 5 a.m. Monday to find out if the mayor would like to conduct an exclusive, pre-surgery interview with his not-exactly-close-personal-best-friend Boyles.

Good thing Boyles wasn't in Boulder, where folks disgruntled with the media--particularly those covering the JonBenet Ramsey case, and the town itself, like a wet blanket--have taken to swinging baseball bats at the press. At least, that's what restaurateur Jay Elowsky, owner of Pasta Jay's and a supporter of the Ramsey family, allegedly did Monday, when he found a TV newsman near his home. Surprisingly, the police tossed Elowsky in the pokey rather than threatening to charge the reporter or whoever had leaked him Elowsky's home address. But then, that reporter wasn't working for the Globe.


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