Even in normal times, the public-private partnership or P3 project delivery model for developing public infrastructure is an appealing choice for many local and state governments because of its ability to bring private capital into public projects. Today, with city and state budgets stressed due to the COVID-19 economic contraction, P3s are an even more attractive option.

P3s are long-term agreements between the public sector and the private sector to share the risks and rewards of delivering infrastructure assets that provide essential public services. Notable P3 projects in Colorado have included Denver Union Station and the University of Colorado A-Line commuter rail.

Recognizing these benefits, The City and County of Denver sought to formalize a performance-based infrastructure (PBI) program (another name for P3s) and an office for identifying and successfully delivering PBI projects to Denver residents. Linhart PR was tasked with supporting the City in creating a detailed plan for how the City and private firms will engage with communities and seek input on PBI projects at key stages of the process.

Led by the mission to “improve the lives of Denver residents by leveraging private sector financing and expertise to innovatively meet the city’s needs for new public infrastructure and to improve our existing facilities,” Linhart PR developed and refined the communications and community outreach plan based on input from members of Denver City Council and on best practice engagement approaches from public infrastructure agencies in the U.S. and Canada. Notable activities included:  

  • Communications and messaging strategy: We drove a communications and messaging strategy that helped secure Denver City Council approval for funding to operate the newly-created Performance-Based Infrastructure Office.
  • Engagement with City Council: We engaged directly with Council members in workshops to share the community engagement plan, listen to Council members’ guidance about securing stakeholder input, and to discuss and incorporate into the plan their ideas for a robust engagement process resulting in more successful projects and empowered communities.
  • Stakeholder communications guidelines: Ultimately, these activities contributed to the development of robust guidelines for public infrastructure project leaders and stakeholders to follow when delivering PBI projects to Denver residents.

Bringing the community along by keeping them engaged and informed is an important component for any project – P3 or otherwise. Public engagement in a time of COVID-19 quarantines is more challenging than it was a year ago, but securing community consent for public infrastructure projects is every bit as important.

Learn more about our six-step community engagement process and how we can support your stakeholder engagement needs.