Dec 072008
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

Tom Griggs, the first mayoral candidate announced Saturday morning in Old Town Square, said that jump-starting Fort Collins’ economy is his top priority.

The 55-year-old University of Northern Colorado professor said his campaign focuses on improving sustainable development, developing a necessary transportation system and job creation in the midst of the poor economic situation.

“What we need is someone to move Fort Collins forward,” Griggs said. “I want the people who are here to want to be here in a decade, in the next six years, in the next year.”

Griggs vowed to work with the Downtown Development Authority the Fort Collins Advisory Board, CSU and the North College Business Association, among others, in order to bring all business sectors together to craft a solid economic solution.

He said he can relate to people as a former small business owner and supports the expansion and development of the Mason Street corridor project. The project, approved by voters and City Council in 1998, allots money to improve transportation in the five mile byway in Fort Collins which extends from Cherry Street to the south of Harmony Road and is home to the Downtown commercial center.

“He has solutions about the future,” said Tim Johnson, a Fort Collins community member and 11-year member of the Transportation Board. “There were no solutions about transportation, and if there were, they were dated, from the 1970s.”

“Some people are looking to add large three to four lane highways. That’s madness; it’s not the only way to move people,” he said, agreeing with Griggs commitment to connect Loveland, Fort Collins, Longmont and other major cities.

He described his vision as one that will capitalize on Fort Collins’ most important resources – its people, CSU and the environment — to develop a progressive plan to create jobs, bring more revenue into the city, create affordable housing and combat the effects of global warming.

Having served on the District Advisory Board and a key member of the Latino Education Task Force for Poudre School District, Griggs emphasized the role of higher education institutions in the process creating change and developing solutions.

“Post-secondary education is absolutely one of the most critical assets,” Griggs said. “The brilliance of the students, professors and researchers; it’s a multi-generational contribution.”?

Griggs said he is looking to the CSU community, a “cornerstone of our community,” to aid in his progressive vision.

Democratic political supporters, while they said they had no one else to compare with Griggs as the current lone candidate, agreed with his green initiatives and emphasis on the creation of sustainable practices.

And while none had a direct criticism of the current Mayor Doug Hutchinson, all agreed that change is needed to improve the economy and the quality of life in Fort Collins.

“Change as Tom said. This is a next step; not necessarily a change to the current platform, but we need to emphasize and encourage green industries in Fort Collins,” said Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Colo. “This is not a criticism of previous interests or past initiatives – we need a renewed commitment to sustainability.”

Griggs said his involvement in the community and his work on various educational and political boards including, chairman for the Colorado Democratic Party 4th Congressional District Caucus, qualify him for the position.

“Real progress for Fort Collins requires somebody with a progressive vision,” Griggs said during his announcement speech. “I ask the people of Fort Collins to recognize that I have that vision, that I’m the person they can trust as mayor to help take Fort Collins to the next level.”

Assistant News Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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