Mar 312004
 
Authors: Daniel Hallford

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

Town.

“It’s all part of a vision,” said Chip Steiner, executive

director of the DDA. “We’re trying to increase the cultural

amenities.”

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

theatrical productions.

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

psychology major.

“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

fine-tuning.

“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.

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