Rant: The National Western Stock Show is staying in Denver. So what’s next?

Last week, a host of local officials announced that the 106-year-old National Western Stock Show would remain in Denver. This concluded about two years of wrangling over the event’s future, and at one point it seemed like a lock that it would end up in Aurora.

That the show will stay within our borders is a win for Mayor Hancock, Visit Denver, numerous civic groups, and the show itself. However, it also comes with an asterisk, because no one knows yet what comes next. As Denver Post columnist Susan Barnes-Gelt noted after the announcement, none of the assembled officials provided any details about their intentions not just for the Stock Show, but for the surrounding neighborhoods.

There’s no reason the new and improved Stock Show couldn’t have a similar effect on its surrounding neighborhood as Coors Field did on LoDo. Globeville and Elyria-Swansea, along with the Brighton Boulevard corridor, are among the few remaining underdeveloped areas within a few minutes of downtown. They’re ripe for development, even in this struggling economy. Back-slapping press conferences make nice photo-ops, but the city’s leadership needs to do all it can to make sure the opportunity isn’t wasted to bring one of the more neglected parts of our city into the 21st-century fold.

Rave: Politicians and government officials find common ground post-Amendment 64.

For an example of how well city, state, and national leaders can work together when they have a common goal, look what’s happened since Amendment 64 passed. Governor Hickenlooper has reached out to federal authorities to figure out how legalized marijuana in Colorado might be viewed in light of federal laws that still prohibit it; district attorneys such as Boulder’s Stan Garnett has dropped marijuana possession cases that no longer will be illegal; and Denver government and law enforcement officials—even those who opposed the measure—are expressing a willingness to honor the progressive but still-uncertain law. With Amendment 64, Colorado has a chance to set a positive example for the rest of the country, much like we did with medical marijuana. The actions of our leaders since election day demonstrate a clear-eyed willingness to move forward and begin to leave behind the abject failure of the War on Drugs.

Image courtesy of Shutterstcok.