ADAMS COUNTY — The City and County of Denver took another step forward on its planning for an “aerotropolis” around Denver International Airport earlier this month.
In an email to the Adams County Board of Commissioners, Commerce City Mayor Sean Ford and Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock made clear that the Denver City Council would be accepting a grant to plan to aerotropolis, a project that has been criticized by Adams County officials for potentially violating an intergovernmental agreement concerning development around the airport.
The $500,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration — with a $125,000 match from DIA — had to be accepted by Denver City Council, Hancock explained in the email, “because the grant is $500,000 or more.” The Colorado Department of Transportation will administer the funds; the details of the contract will be determined by Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year.
In his email, Hancock expressed the desire to engage Adams County officials in making use of the funds for planning purposes — this in spite of the ongoing acrimony between Denver and Adams County in recent airport committee talks that seem destined for court over the alleged violation of the IGA.
“Our hope is that, with CDOT’s guidance and coordination, we can all work together collaboratively to decide exactly how to spend these funds, what to spend them on, and what the tasks and deliverables are so that the region benefits collectively from these dollars,” Hancock wrote in the email. “This grant could provide useful ideas for the regional coordination of future development and transportation system improvements.”
In June, Adams County leaders pushed talks with Denver over business developments around Denver International Airports to the brink of litigation, issuing two letters: one proposing to de-annex the land given to Denver as part of the 1988 intergovernmental agreement, and another letter serving as a notice of default on the IGA — a pretext for taking the case to court.