Colorado Commission Not Approving Denver Airport For Inclusion In Economic Program

Date: September 01, 2015

State Economic Development Commission Says City’s Airport Not An “Economically Distressed” Area

City, county, and state officials are sparring over Colorado’s Enterprise Zone program, which is designed to help foster economic development in less-well-off areas of the state. The dispute comes as the City of Denver and Adams County are arguing that the Denver International Airport and the area surrounding it should be included in one of the state’s 14 enterprise zones, a move the state Economic Development Commission is against. The Denver Post reported that commissioner JJ Ament, arguing against adding the airport to an economic zone, said, “I am not sure what the legislature had in mind when they used words like ‘economically distressed,’ but I don’t think they meant something that has yet to be developed.” Denver’s airport is the sixth-busiest in the US, while Denver itself is one of the top metropolitan economies in the US, Ament noted, arguing the program shouldn’t be used as a general tool for economic development instead of one for helping economically-disadvantaged areas. Currently, areas included in one of the state’s 14 zones must qualify for inclusion in one of three ways – by having unemployment at a rate at least 25% higher than the state average, having per capita income levels at least 25% lower than the state average, or having population growth slower than the state average. Denver and Adams County officials argue the area around the airport is qualified for inclusion and needs to be included to help development in neighborhoods surrounding the airport. Denver Office of Economic Development chief economist Jeff Romaine said the area’s lack of infrastructure and investment have caused some companies interested in locating in the area around the airport to instead go elsewhere.

What This Means For Small Businesses

Small business owners need to be sure they have proper infrastructure and other support when locating their businesses in a particular neighborhood. The City of Denver and Adams County appear to be working to attract small businesses to all parts of the metro area. It remains to be seen whether state regulators will stand in the way of further economic growth and a more robust small business community, however.

Additional Reading

NFIB previously noted Denver’s examination of an economic development program at the city’s airport.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

Related Content: Small Business News | Denver, CO | Economy

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