hickenlooper-john-2Mayor John Hickenlooper appeared grim during a press conference yesterday as he announced the city will lay off 176 employees, reduce library hours, freeze salaries, and sell recreation centers. Those were but a few of the steps Denver could take to reduce a $160 million budget shortfall, according to 9News. The plan is full of harsh realities at a level not seen since the Great Depression. “This isn’t just a cloudy day,” Hickenlooper said. “This is a pretty significant downpour.” Especially since the city only has $40 million in rainy-day reserves, according to The Denver Post. Some employees tell news organizations the layoffs, including 85 in the human services department and 29 in the office of economic development, will come as a blow to already-sparse staffing. And even more staff could be cut, including about 200 police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and firefighters, if the city is unable to get contract concessions from them. The budget would also reduce hours at many libraries by eight hours a week and close the Byers branch in west Denver. Four recreation centers—Johnson, Globeville, La Alma, and College View—would be sold to nonprofit entities. Operating hours at the city’s 311 call center would be reduced, along with programming at Denver8 TV.