Sep 292011
Authors: Rodger Katz

I just recently had to make my way through southern Fort Collins. For those of you who have yet to venture, it’s a real treat(moderate sarcasm implied).

For the past year I have slowly redrawn my Fort Collins map, choosing to define new city parameters –– in turn, ignorantly deciding that everything else doesn’t need to exist. I think it’s fair to say that my new map has been strategically drawn to include almost none of southern Fort Collins.

“Oh yeah, what about Best Buy?!” the boy yells.

“Hey look, buddy, my family’s franchise is down there!”

Settle down people, settle down. I’m merely voicing one of my egregious opinions. It’s what happens when life momentarily slows down; suddenly it becomes more fun to take aim at Wal-Mart and kids who love Taco Bell. Just roll with it.

Besides, the fact that a few of you might perhaps choose to defend the bustling nature of our city’s southern end is of no concern to me…I write the articles around here.

Anyways, in short, I despise the mess that southern Fort Collins is. It represents everything that I don’t care for. It’s a wasteland –– a plague of oversized, formulated businesses, condensed and saturating in endless, used car salesmen muster, even if the cars are new.

It’s poorly arranged concrete, obligatory thrift stores and pale dehydrated sign twirlers dawdling on the side of College Avenue. It’s thousands of wasteful, middle-aged salesmen taking early lunch breaks, driving empty, plastic-looking vessels to Quizno’s to buy toasted sandwiches and bottles of water. (They leave their messy trays at the table)

And I’m not some anti-capitalist. We’re talking about arrangement, people.

My disposition is not necessarily in the businesses themselves –– it’s the fact that we just throw them all together like unsuitable marbles into the glass jar we call middle America.

It’s the “efficient” side of town.
It doesn’t look good, but damnit, this is America. Now let’s drive home and watch some football. (A sport that I do in fact enjoy).

The fact is, I think it’s embarrassing the way we have allowed this country to embrace an attitude where the highway goes here, houses go here, and strip malls go everywhere else. It’s embarrassing that we leave entire parts of towns to drown in unworthy sequences of businesses and banks and rug stores –– parts of town you should only drive your car to.

And I’m aware that there isn’t one man somewhere pulling all the strings, trying to sabotage every good-natured town in this country. I’m aware that somehow this is all just happening –– one block at a time –– because it’s easier. Because the formula works, so why not…try it out over there!
Where’s the originality?

Well… it’s around. (We need you, city art programs, we’re dying over here). It lives when people decide to be artful and construct communities that choose not to segregate the efficiency of economics with the wholeness of back-country suburbia.

The truth is, I love Fort Collins, but only the Fort Collins I have redrawn, a Fort Collins that does not include either of the two Wal-Marts or Sam’s Club or Bed Bath and Beyond (unless I, of course, need bed sheets). It’s a Fort Collins that only semi-frequently includes Target, and places like Guitar Center and Best Buy (Café Mexicali is an exception).

My new southern Fort Collins boundary ironically enough stops at Whole Foods…. And yes, you can insert all of the snarky, indie kid comments you want, but I don’t care damnit. I’m addicted to Kombucha. You love it.

Either way, I don’t expect us all to go and torch half of our city. Hopefully, some of us with a little sense of style turn out to be city planners. Then maybe we could stop building such scatter-brain towns, and maybe then we would stop subsidizing water and dragging it out into the desert,
building entire unsustainable kingdoms of drab houses that all look the same. I’m starting to rant.

I do think this city is making great strides, but in the meantime, maybe we could perhaps just consider seceeding from the southern part of town –– just like those Texans tried to do in 1837. It might just be better if we did….until we of course realize that we need a power strip and a few new DVDs.

Then, in that case, we might just have to hop back over the border.

_Rodger Katz is a senior liberal arts major. His column appears Fridays in the Collegian. He can be reached at _

 Posted by at 4:13 pm

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