CSU President Tony Frank fielded and fended off questions, concerns and misconceptions related to the proposed on-campus stadium at Tuesday nightâ€™s city council work session.
Flanked by two members of his cabinet, the university president presented Fort Collins council members with the future building plans of CSU. Campus officials discussed a host of construction projects in the works â€“ such as the creation of a new dorm called Academic Village North â€“ but city authorities veered the conversation toward issues they had with Frankâ€™s proposed on-campus stadium.
â€œBe respectful,â€ warned Councilman Kelly Ohlson in regard to the possibility of stadium construction damaging Fort Collins city roads.
â€œBuild that into your costs,â€ Ohlson said, adding the city wouldnâ€™t pay for something that wasnâ€™t its fault.
Frank welcomed the comment as a â€œfair point,â€ assuring Ohlson it wouldnâ€™t be a problem. He pointed to the solid track record of cooperation the university and the city had when it came to road projects as proof that complications wouldnâ€™t arise.
Other council members took issue with how the on-campus stadium was being communicated. Wade Troxell didnâ€™t appreciate that the universityâ€™s presentation on future campus construction had no mention of the stadium proposal.
â€œThe material presented doesnâ€™t have anything in regards to the stadium and also it doesnâ€™t have even the new stadium as part of the materials,â€ he said after Frank and his team finished presenting. â€œWhen you think about a master plan, how do we consider stadium discussions?â€
The university president saw the complaint as a non-issue.
â€œYou donâ€™t see it reflected here because itâ€™s a relatively new concept and itâ€™s very early on,â€ he said.
Frank used the opportunity to remind council members that the idea of an on-campus stadium is simply a proposal at the moment and doesnâ€™t have too many details worked out. The plans will flesh out, he said, once he hears back from a stadium committee the university put together when it first announced their interest in the project. Their recommendation will largely determine whether or not the proposal will move forward.
Frank reiterated this fact when he was asked by another council member about where he plans to put the stadium, saying itâ€™s simply too soon to tell.
â€œWeâ€™re in the very start of the process, and I intend to give that process time to work and time to breathe,â€ Frank said after the meeting was over. â€œTo jump into where that process will end up now I donâ€™t think serves anyone well.â€
But the process is precisely what some Fort Collins residents are worried about. Doug Brobst, a citizen who attended the meeting as an opponent to the on-campus stadium, said it is rigged to ensure the proposal will be fulfilled.
â€œThe committee that they formed is so full with university people,â€ he said, adding that the so-called community representatives that are supposed to represent the interests of Fort Collins residents have many ties to the university.
Brobst added he fears the group was stacked so it would recommend the project commence.
â€œIt seems to be a foregone conclusion that weâ€™ll have an on-campus stadium,â€ he said.
Councilman Gerry Horak echoed his concerns.
â€œIâ€™m more looking at the community involvement in the committee, and really, itâ€™s strictly limited,â€ he said.
Frank responded by saying that the stadium committee isnâ€™t the only way the community could voice its concerns over the proposal. He pointed to the fact that the universityâ€™s Center for Public Deliberation is holding community-wide discussions on the matter.
Not to mention, â€œWeâ€™re willing to meet as we are tonight to talk about this,â€ he said.
Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.