Rocky Moun­tain High­life

Den­ver’s ge­og­ra­phy isn’t the only up­ward trend in the Colorado cap­i­tal

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE - By Michael An­dré Adams

Den­ver’s ge­og­ra­phy isn’t the only up­ward trend in the Mile High City

Colorado’s pro­gres­sive new mar­i­juana laws were signed into effect this spring, which es­tab­lishes the state as the na­tion’s first le­gal, reg­u­lated and taxed recre­ational mar­i­juana mar­ket for adults. Some wags have cho­sen to point to the leg­is­la­tion as the rea­son for the state cap­i­tal’s nick­name,“The Mile-High City.” But in re­al­ity, it’s Den­ver’s po­si­tion above sea level – at ex­actly 5,280 feet, one mile – that re­ally gives the city its moniker.

But Den­ver’s“Rocky Moun­tain high” doesn’t end there. Once a mere cow town, this city has ex­pe­ri­enced phe­nom­e­nal growth and de­vel­op­ment over the past two decades right through a pe­riod when much of the coun­try was caught in an eco­nomic down­turn.

“We weath­ered the re­ces­sion well be­cause we are di­ver­si­fied,”says Rich Grant of the Den­ver Con­ven­tion and Visi­tors Bureau. He points to the mo­men­tous de­ci­sion vot­ers made to in­crease taxes in or­der to fund the in­no­va­tion and re­cre­ation; 122 miles of light rail trans­porta­tion, a new opera house, an art mu­seum and more. Time will soon tell if the com­bi­na­tion of 850 miles of paved off-street bik­ing and 83 bike shar­ing sta­tions around town, to­gether with its rar­i­fied al­ti­tude and 300 days of sun­shine, will help the city re­tain its es­teemed sta­tus as the“Lean­est City in Amer­ica.”

All this progress is get­ting at­ten­tion be­yond the Moun­tain states, as na­tional me­dia take no­tice. The short list in­cludes: un­em­ploy­ment re­port shows Colorado’s rate at 6.6 per­cent, a full point lower than the na­tional av­er­age. De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion study shows pos­i­tive five-year job growth for a ma­jor­ity of the Metro Den­ver re­gion’s key in­dus­tries.

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