Oct 182010
Authors: Jordyn Dahl

Correction: Fort Collins natural resource director John Stokes’s name was misspelled Stoke in the print edition. The correct spelling is Stokes. The Collegian regrets its error.

The student government executive team, which ran on a promise to try to light the Aggie “A” has yet to file any paperwork in what city officials say may be a difficult uphill battle over an ambitious goal.

Eight weeks into the first semester of his first term, Associated Students of CSU President Cooper Anderson said he has decided to focus on other issues, which include the city’s request for a .85 percent sales tax increase on the November ballot and CSU’s possible 20 percent tuition hike.

Any plan Anderson and Vice President Jennifer Babos have to light the “A” would have to be consistent with the secretary of interior standards set by the Colorado Historical Society, because the “A” is a historic landmark, according to Historic Preservation Planner Karen McWilliams.

The City of Fort Collins and the owner of the “A” would also have to approve any proposal ASCSU submitted for installing lights, including how often the lights would be on, the type of lights installed and their proximity to the landmark.

If the duo’s plan meets those standards, it would then need to fulfill the city’s land use codes, which say the plan should provide for the preservation and adaptive use of the historic structure, something McWilliams isn’t sure is possible.

McWilliams said installation of LED lights, as part of Anderson and Babos’ proposed plan, could have a negative impact on the property.

“To suddenly introduce (the lights) could have an adverse affect,” McWilliams said. “They’d be changing the characteristics.”

The city’s land use code states that any change to property characteristics need to be done in a way so as not to destroy historic detail. Lighting the “A,” she said, could limit the integrity of the property.

Also, because the “A” is in a natural area, the plan would need to go through the Department of Natural Resources for final approval by the city. John Stokes, the director of Natural Resources, said any changes would need a permit from the Natural Areas program.

But Anderson said he and ASCSU are prepared to make a compromise given the number and nature of the hurdles they face. Painting the “A” with glow-in-the-dark paint, instead of lighting the “A” with LED lights, is one possibility he said.

City Manager Darin Atteberry, who Anderson met with last week to discuss the proposal, could not be reached for comment.

Lighting the “A” was one of the major campaign platforms Anderson and Babos ran on during the elections last spring. Anderson said they added the promise to the ballot to increase school pride.

“We thought it’d be a great opportunity to highlight one of the institution’s great traditions,” Anderson said.

If the city approves the proposal, the lighting of the “A” will be paid for through private donations and not students fees, according to Anderson.

While the task seems daunting, Anderson said he is starting the process and remains hopeful that even if his administration can’t complete the task, he will set it up for the next one to come.

“We want to get the ball rolling,” he said.

ASCSU Beat Reporter Jordyn Dahl can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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