June 3, 2008
Hosting the Democratic National Convention represents a tremendous economic and marketing opportunity for Metro Denver and Colorado, as well as a chance for local residents to witness and participate in a historical event.
On a more practical side, we know that downtown residents and businesses have questions about possible Convention-related impacts. Because security and transportation planning is ongoing and details continue to evolve, more specifics will be available in the coming weeks. Ongoing updates will be disseminated widely and available through a variety of sources including www.DenverGov.org, www.DowntownDenver.com, www.DenverConvention2008.com, 3-1-1 and more.
In the meantime, we want to provide you with the following information:
Number of Visitors: While as many as 50,000 visitors are anticipated between Saturday, August 23 and Thursday, August 28 – including delegates, assorted guests and 15,000 members of the media – it is important to remember that this is less than the number of people that come downtown for Rockies’ Opening Day or for a Broncos game. Denver has hosted games in all three downtown stadiums at the same time, involving close to 150,000 people. The Convention visitors – who won’t all be downtown at the same time – will spend significant amounts of time inside the Colorado Convention Center, Pepsi Center and other event venues. Downtown restaurants will be open for business – and should be able to easily accommodate local diners as activity on the Convention floor takes place between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Street, Residential and Commercial Access: We are working very hard to ensure that downtown residents and workers can get around and access their buildings with ease during the Democratic National Convention. Because of the Pepsi Center’s location in the Platte Valley, transportation- and security-related impacts on downtown will be minimized.
While there will be some additional screening procedures and security measures in some locations, all downtown residents will be able to access their homes and parking garages. Downtown businesses will be able to remain open with access to employees and customers.
When people talk about a “security perimeter,” what they are really talking about are areas around the Pepsi Center that may require additional screening or security measures. Those areas will be finalized and announced closer to the Convention, but please know that our intention is to minimize any impacts on roadways, businesses and residences. More updates will be provided to businesses and residents near the Pepsi Center – and the general public – over the coming weeks.
While there will be some modest traffic impacts in the downtown area during the Convention, it will not tie up the downtown. Downtown workers should not have difficulties getting to or leaving work, particularly since the main hours of Pepsi Center activity (4 p.m. to 9 p.m.) do not correspond with standard morning or evening commute times. The bottom line is: Downtown will be accessible.
Security: Our top priorities are to keep Denver open for business and to ensure the Convention is a historic, memorable and safe celebration. We plan to provide the most effective and comprehensive security possible, while maintaining an event that is inclusive and enjoyable. We are not looking to impact public access any more than necessary during the Convention and will disseminate updated information as soon as it is available.
City is Open for Business: City offices and facilities will of course be open and operational during the Convention week, and we do not anticipate any interruptions to City services. By engaging law enforcement officers from neighboring jurisdictions to assist during the Convention, we will have the staffing to cover Convention-related security needs as well as the City of Denver’s standard operational and safety needs.
Free Speech: We support the rights of people to express their views safely and in a manner that respects the rights of others along with local, state and federal laws. The 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston attracted 10,000 demonstrators. Some peaceful demonstrations are anticipated in Civic Center, Skyline Park and other downtown parks during the week of the Convention.
As a point of reference, approximately 75,000 to 100,000 people gathered in Civic Center Park for a May 2006 rally, and it did not inconvenience downtown businesses, residents or City services. The annual set-up for the Downtown Denver Partnership’s Taste of Colorado will also begin in Civic Center on the Wednesday of the Convention week.
A designated parade route – the details of which will be announced by June 12 – will provide organizations that want to march toward the Pepsi Center a safe means to do so in a manner and timeframe that minimizes mobility impacts on downtown businesses, residents and visitors.
Community Involvement: Working together, the City of Denver and the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee have created innovative and inclusive vehicles for public expression, participation and civic engagement around the Convention. We hope you will encourage your family, friends, classmates, neighbors and colleagues to be a part of the excitement and help shape the dialogue about issues that are important to us, our community and our country. Information on Cinemocracy (public short-film competition about democracy), America: Live and In Person (public multi-media competition about America), and Dialog:City (site-specific public art exhibits designed to encourage civic engagement) – and how to participate – is available at www.denverconvention2008.com.
More public events - hosted by a variety of organizations - will be announced in the coming weeks, providing opportunities for all of us – no matter what political party or candidate we support – to participate in interactive community activities and witness an historical event in our backyard.
Thank you for your efforts to ensure that Denver shines as a host city and capitalizes on this opportunity to showcase our community’s successes to the world. We appreciate your patience during the planning process and look forward to providing you more details about security, mobility and access as soon as they are available.
Mayor John W. Hickenlooper