The Downtown Development Authority has been formulating ideas
for some time regarding what a Fort Collins of the future should
look like in an endless effort to build a stronger culture in Old
“It’s all part of a vision,” said Chip Steiner, executive
director of the DDA. “We’re trying to increase the cultural
Future plans for downtown include everything from amphitheatres
to zambonis for new ice skating rinks.
After a 2001 citywide vote to build a new performing arts center
in Fort Collins didn’t pass, there have been several attempts to
resurrect the idea. This is proposed in the DDA’s To Do List,
highlighting their efforts to infuse Old Town with more life from
every corner of the community.
The new performing arts center would be more grandiose than the
current options available to musicians and thespians in Fort
Collins, seating anywhere from 2,200 to 2,400 people. The center
would be north of campus and provide state-of-the-art options for
The goal of the new center would be to allow performers and
productions more options, hoping that they will choose Fort Collins
as a place to entertain. However, it is difficult to please
everyone, Steiner said.
“It’s hard to get a performing arts center to be everything to
everybody,” he said.
The DDA is an organization with nine members who are appointed
by the city council and serve as the primary planning and
development advisor for downtown Fort Collins, according to the
city of Fort Collins Web site.
Aiming to make downtown Fort Collins a more welcoming and
exciting place, the new improvements on the drawing board focus on
meeting the needs of wide variety of people who use downtown.
“It will be the uses and the users of the cultural district we
create that will confirm and sustain downtown Fort Collins, the
gathering place for cultural, intellectual, physical and spiritual
growth,” according to a document written by the DDA.
“I like the idea of a farmer’s market,” said Eric Krasny, senior
“The last thing on earth we need is more restaurants or coffee
shops. Please no more super Wal-Marts.”
Other potential improvements included on the plan are an outdoor
ice rink, amphitheaters, an art school, lecture halls, a
year-round, enclosed farmer’s market, more small hotels, bed and
breakfasts and night clubs, housing for artists in residence, the
Colorado College of Contemporary Music, a new public library,
private theaters, galleries and an entirely new method of public
transportation. All of this is an enormous task, and it’s all in
the beginning stages with no dates set.
“Old Town has character, such as the Aggie Theatre, and the
local stores that you can’t find anywhere else,” said Jessica
Chavez, senior political science major.
But not everyone feels that Fort Collins’ Old Town needs
“I make it a point to shop in Old Town and everything is pretty
good already. It’s easy to get to and easy to get around. You can’t
legislate to provide more culture,” said Anne Howley, sophomore
interior design major.