Feb 092010
Authors: Ryan Sheine

Recognized for its historic Downtown and preservation of prairie architecture, Fort Collins was named one of the Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust of Historical Preservation (NTHP).

Since 2000, the NTHP has awarded cities and towns that offer a unique experience for tourists –– through cultural diversity, attractive architecture, cultural landscapes, sustainability and revitalization ––, and Fort Collins is now among those.

“We meet so many criteria,” said Mayor Doug Hutchinson, lauding the city’s Downtown as one of the best in America and highlighting Fort Collins’ commitment to historical preservation.

“Fort Collins Downtown has some of the few remaining examples of prairie architecture,” Hutchinson said. “The prairie architecture that we have preserved in Fort Collins, in our Downtown, fits perfectly with their criteria of historical preservation, dynamic downtown and attractive architecture.”

In fact, ‘Main Street, USA,’ a themed section within California’s Disneyland, was modeled after Fort Collins, Hutchinson said.
“When Walt Disney was building Disneyland around 1960, he sent architects and engineers to Fort Collins,” he said.

Jim Clark, of the Fort Collins Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, said Fort Collins is exactly what the NTHP is looking for in a distinctive city.

“Fort Collins fits like a glove for what they want as a distinctive place,” Clark said, “It’s a great distinctive city with historical sustainability, walkable sidewalks, bicycle friendly and a diverse culture. We are very deserving.”

Fort Collins also offers a scenic landscape to visitors, from the Cache la Poudre to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Fort Collins is home to the 6.5-mile Horsetooth Reservoir that’s open year around and is a popular place for students and community members to fish, boat, picnic, water-ski and camp.

The reservoir is senior history major Samantha Towner’s favorite feature of Fort Collins.

“I can go hiking without being bothered by a large crowd,” she said.

Towner, a resident of four years, emphasized the small town feel of Fort Collins as one of its more distinctive attributes.

“I like Downtown, like all the mom-and-pop shops … “ she said. “It’s bigger than the smaller towns, but it still has that out-doorsy feel.”

Out of the 12 distinctive communities, one, the Fan Favorite, will be selected at the best. Voting started on Feb. 3 and will conclude Feb. 28.
As of Tuesday, Fort Collins was fifth in the standings, according to voting results on http://www.fcgov.com.

Any legal resident 18 or older is eligible to vote at http://www.preservationation.org or through http://www.fcgov.com. The winner will be announced online March 1.

Staff writer Ryan Sheine can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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