Nov 152010
 
Authors: Darin Atteberry

Fort Collins is a great community, and on Nov. 2, the voters said they want to keep it that way.

On election night the voters of Fort Collins overwhelmingly approved a 0.85 percent city sales tax increase to fund transportation, police, fire, parks and recreation and other community priorities. I know many students who chose to get involved, learn more about local issues and vote. In fact, in October, the Associated Students of Colorado State University (ASCSU) asked for a meeting with City Council and city leaders with the goal to better understand how 2B would impact CSU students. I want to thank ASCSU and all of you who chose to engage in your local city government.

Local government matters, to all of us. City services impact your daily lives. From Transfort service to neighborhood quality, recreation to police protection –– these services help to make Fort Collins one of the nation’s best cities. Just this past year, Fort Collins has garnered awards for being the best place to start a career to the best place to attend college.

This year, the city was named the 4th Best State for Business, One of the Top 10 Best College Towns and One of the Greatest Places to Live in the West, among others.

These awards confirm what we already know: Fort Collins is a great place. We all have a vested interest in keeping Fort Collins a great community. We want to assure that it remains a great place to attend school –– ample recreational opportunities, quality job prospects upon graduation and a vibrant downtown.

Our downtown has also received a lot of attention. Like other communities with an active night scene, Fort Collins has its challenges with unruly behavior in downtown at night. Some may be tempted to say that this is a student issue.
That is not the case. Instead, the downtown “issue” is about how we curb the inappropriate behavior of the few, so we can create a fun and safe environment for the many.

In an effort to do just that, we’ve launched the “Downtown After Dark” program, which takes a holistic approach to address safety and nuisance issues. In partnership with the Downtown Development Authority, the Downtown Business Association, CSU, Team Fort Collins, the Bar Owners Group and a host of others, we are focusing on prevention and education.

The project has numerous components. We’re looking into how we use technology to allow bars to better share real-time information. Bar owners are developing a “Patron Code of Conduct” to better identify, integrate and enforce the rules of acceptable behavior. Finally, we increased the fees associated with illegal behavior and are offering more opportunities for community service.

The “Downtown After Dark” project is about making a great place even better. I love that downtown is a vibrant place, day and night. CSU students are key to maintaining that unique quality. I’m convinced that without CSU students, downtown would have a much different, and frankly less desirable, feel. You are an important part of what makes downtown dynamic and lively.

Using downtown as an example, it’s easy to see why it’s important that the entire community –– CSU students, business owners, families and long-time residents –– continue to learn about and engage in local issues. By continuing to work together, I believe we can assure Fort Collins remains a great community. If you have other ideas about how we can work together, I’d love to hear from you.

Darin Atteberry is the Fort Collins city manager. You can reach him at datteberry@fcgov.com or 970-221-6505. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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