Although it appears the National Western Stock Show’s move to Aurora is a done deal, it is, in fact, dead politically in Denver. No tax will be passed to assist the move. Incentives, which are often illusionary and accrue mostly to private interests, are unlikely to overcome Denver voters’ aversion to losing the Stock Show and being asked to pay for it. More likely, if the proponents move forward, local political entrepreneurs will put a “keep the Stock Show in Denver” initiative on the ballot and block the move.
However, the poor choice of moving the Stock Show out of Denver opens an opportunity to address the deeper problem. Denver isn’t in the economic development game today. And, Denver voters might be a little more regionally minded if they felt it were.
In the past, Denver business and political leaders combined forces to develop new projects and address economic problems. The Stock Show has complained about its space problem for more than a decade. But, Denver is without an aggressive economic development strategy and team. The Denver Chamber focuses regionally, and Denver’s own economic development leadership has been both unimpressive and distracted during a nearly two-year transition as Hickenlooper shifted his role from citywide to statewide interests.
The new administration has an opportunity to get serious or, if not, it will get beat.
Read Andrew Hudson’s blog: S.O.S.! Save Our Stockshow