Clark's Cone of Silence

A unique look at economic development in the region

“Vote Yes on 1A for DIA” an Easy Choice

In the first week of October, mail-in ballots were sent to registered voters throughout Colorado. In Denver and Adams County, one item in particular on this year’s ballot - the 1A for DIA measure - harkens us back to the 1989 election that paved the way for creating Denver International Airport (DIA).

Today, DIA generates $26 billion of economic impact for Colorado. This astronomical number is part of the economic insurance our state enjoys due to DIA’s unique position and success among the nation’s airports. 

Since 1989, both Adams County and Denver abided by an intergovernmental agreement that limited development on DIA land to give neighboring communities an advantage in attracting development. While the agreement served as a means of reducing the possibility of rekindling generations-old conflicts, both cities lost potential job-creation opportunities.

The 2015 ballot measure would amend the original agreement to allow tax sharing between Denver and Adams County for commercial development planned on up to 1,500 acres at DIA. In exchange, Denver would provide a one-time payment of $10 million to Adams County for the privilege of collecting land lease income from prospective development.

The advantage for Adams is the signal this amendment sends within the marketplace. Prior to the proposed agreement, support for needed infrastructure investments around the airport generated little interest from companies we worked with. Now, with both on- and off-airport opportunities, we expect to see increased interest and activity, especially along Tower Road just west of DIA.

While the 1A for DIA initiative isn’t as monumental of an undertaking as the original 1989 election, it is in that category of importance. DIA and its neighbors are setting a new standard for job creation – one that will enjoy the historical bookmark that DIA’s creation brought about.


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About Tom Clark

Tom has over 30 years of economic development experience at the state, regional, and local levels, spanning from Illinois to Colorado. He is known both for his quips and his candor. Often quoted in the local and national press on Metro Denver’s economy, his iPhone is his most valued possession next to his Les Paul guitar. He is also famous for writing parody songs, maintaining an orderly office, and funding the office swear jar. Tom says that if wasn’t an economic developer, his dream would be to work in a chocolate factory.

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About The Cone of Silence

Invented by Professor Cone from TV’s "Get Smart," the Cone of Silence was designed to protect the most secret of conversations by enshrouding its users within a transparent sound-proof shield. Unfortunately, from experience, we have also learned that it never works properly. This blog offers those outside our “Cone of Silence” a unique look at economic development in the region.

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