Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

John Hickenlooper hits first obstacle to becoming governor

Next Tuesday morning, John Hickenlooper will resign his post as Denver mayor, a job he's held almost eight years, but is giving up to become Colorado governor, and walk out of the City and County Building and across Civic Center Park towards the State Capitol -- right into a fence at Broadway?

There's plenty of action planned for Civic Center Park this month, including a 106-foot high ski hill that will be erected for Big Air, which lands at the park January 25-26. But the construction that's now blocked off the east side of Civic Center is not part of the Big Air project. Populous, the company putting on the snow show (and which, as HOK, built Coors Field), will be doing all of its work in ten very fast days, after Hickenlooper is inaugurated as governor of Colorado. (Big Air is the reason the Nativity display is coming down a week early, though -- but unfortunately, thegaudy lights will remain on through the Stock Show, as is traditional.)

No, the work that's ripped up Civic Center is part of the Better Bond program, which Hickenlooper pushed as mayor. And the city is cognizant of the roadblock it could put in plans for Hickenlooper's symbolic walk across the park, as mayor of Denver ascends to the office of governor.

The city has advised Can Do Colorado, the team planning next Tuesday's events, "and I'm sure they will make the necessary adjustments for the stroll," says Ann Williams, spokeswoman for still-Mayor John Hickenlooper, of the group planning the inaugural of future-Governor John Hickenlooper.

Given his amazing ascendancy through the last crazy campaign season, maybe he can just jump over the fence.

For the record, here's the December 22, 2010 release explaining the Civic Center Park project:


Civic Center Park's Broadway Terrace rehabilitation project is underway and scheduled to be complete in the spring of 2011. The project will include new and refurbished pedestrian walkways and pavement, seating areas, irrigation and landscape improvements including additional trees, improved pedestrian and street lighting, new drainage systems, RTD bus stop improvements and improved curb, gutter and roadway treatments. 

These improvements will guide the revitalization and transformation of Civic Center into a place of civic engagement. For visuals and more information on the project, please visit

As part of Civic Center Park's Broadway Terrace rehabilitation project, the following changes will be made to the immediate area to accommodate construction: The right-turn-only lane at eastbound Colfax Avenue and southbound Broadway Street will be permanently removed to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment.  The reclaimed space will be integrated as part of Civic Center Park's Broadway Terrace. Over the course of the project, sidewalks and accessible ramps in the project area will be closed intermittently, however detours for pedestrians will be available. RTD bus shelters at the northwest corner of 14th/ Broadway have been removed, and the bus stop has been relocated to the southwest corner of the intersection adjacent to the Central Denver Public Library.  RTD has also notified its users of the change.

Civic Center Park's Broadway Terrace rehabilitation project is partially funded by the Better Denver Bond program with Spectrum General Contractors as the prime contractor.  Mundus Bishop Design is the landscape architect / urban designer.

The City & County of Denver's Better Denver Bond Program works to preserve, renovate and create amenities that touch citizen's lives - including roads, libraries, parks, recreation centers, child care sites, hospitals, city buildings, and cultural facilities. Approved by voters in 2007 and led by Mayor John Hickenlooper and civic leaders throughout the City, the bond program pumps millions of dollars into the economy, helps to preserve and create jobs and is making Denver a more attractive place to live, work, and invest in the future. For more information about the Better Denver Bond Program, visit

More from our Calhoun/Wake-Up Call archive: "California Zephyr heading into Union Station."

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun