Instead of hanging out at the gyro stand, bar patrons in Old Town may need to have transportation waiting for a quick getaway after the bars close at 2 a.m.
The Fort Collins City Council will to discuss a proposal tonight that would impose a curfew in Old Town Plaza, closing the property from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.
According to City officials, between 1,500 and 2,000 people sometimes hit Old Town streets at the same time as the bars shut down. Along with the crowd comes a mess.
Merchants in Old Town often complain about the aftermath of the bar scene which includes graffiti, vandalism, garbage and large pools of vomit and urine.
City officials and the Downtown Development Authority have proposed this curfew to address these problems, with the hope to drive away the drunks and the problems that come with them.
“We are simply trying to give some legal ability to disperse the crowds after the bars close down,” said Chip Steiner, executive director of the DDA. “Police will be monitoring the crowds to force late-night bar customers to be on their way.”
“Permits for events are still available for those times,” he said. “But, if a crowd of people are just hanging out and do not seem to be going away, the police will disperse it.”
This proposal presents a struggle between private property rights and the freedom of movement.
“Old Town is a place where any citizen should be able to go at any time,” said David Roy, District 6 City Council member.
Many students agree with Roy.
“Not everyone causes damage in Old Town on the way out of the bars,” said Alicia Lichty, a junior business major. “The misbehavior of some should not impose on my rights.”
Tess Siler, a sophomore human development major, also feels that the curfew would be more of a hassle to those that do not contribute to the mess.
“I work as a hostess at Suite 152 and I see the crowds of people as they leave the club,” she said. “People are just as drunk when they leave at (midnight) as the others that leave when we close.”
“I do not think that all of the mess happens after 2 a.m.,” she said. “There is going to be a mess not matter what, and I don’t feel that we should all have to suffer because of someone else’s mess.”
While Roy said a range of opinion exists on the Council, he remains opposed.
“I do not support the curfew,” Roy said. “I think that the Old Town Plaza is this communities center for citizens.”
Wednesday’s meeting will decide the fate of the curfew.
-Edited by Vince Blaser and Ben Koerselman