Feb 142011
Authors: Doug Hutchinson

As Colorado State University plays an important role in our community, we want to share with you some of the key highlights from this year’s State of the City Address, which took place on Jan. 25.

The Fort Collins community has much to be proud of.

In November, Fort Collins voters made a strong statement about our future. You said “yes” to Issue 2B, adding $18.7 million annually to fund street maintenance, police, fire, parks and recreation, and other services critical to our quality of life.
The amount of $18.7 million will do a lot to keep this community great now and well into the future. A full 50 percent of the 2B money goes directly to transportation. After years of deferring basic street maintenance we will repair our roads, fix bridges and reinvest in our critical infrastructure. We are preserving existing Transfort services and continuing efforts to make Fort Collins bike-friendly.

Nearly 30 percent of the 2B money will be spent on public safety. With an emphasis on downtown and neighborhood safety, we are now hiring additional patrol officers and detectives. We’ll continue successful programs that focus on partnership and collaboration with programs such as Party Patrol/Riot Prevention and Downtown After Dark.

Poudre Fire Authority is adding staff to serve the growing needs in south Fort Collins and to assure prompt emergency response across the community.

With 2B dollars, we’ll maintain the quality of our parks and keep recreation activities and facilities, such as Mulberry Pool and youth and senior programs, intact.

2B money also addresses other community priorities. We’ll invest in the future of our local economy, our environment and our neighborhoods.

Undoubtedly, the money from 2B will help us continue to provide the services that make Fort Collins special and help reinforce our reputation as one of the nation’s best cities to live, work, play and go to school.

This great community did not happen by accident. It is the result of bold visions and careful planning. We’re continuing that great tradition.

For example, through smart urban planning, economic development and modern transit, the Mason Corridor will fundamentally change how the backbone of our city looks and functions. Design of the MAX bus rapid transit system is nearly complete. Construction of a new south transit center will begin this fall, and by late 2013, MAX service will be up and running.

The Mason Corridor is just the tip of the iceberg. While construction and investment activity in other Colorado communities have nearly stopped, Fort Collins has major projects underway:

-$34 million to transform our Utility with Smart Grid technology,

-$11 million to kick start FortZED, Fort Collins’ Zero Energy District,

-$63 million to revitalize North College and

-$24 million to build a new Discovery Museum

These projects are more than investments in our infrastructure, they are also smart investments in our long term economic health. For example, the revitalization of North College Avenue includes the construction of the new Rocky Mountain Innosphere building. In the next five years, Innosphere, formerly known as RMI2, expects to assist more than 40 new startup companies, raise more than $120 million in capital and create more than 400 new primary jobs.

As we reflect on our accomplishments and discuss our community’s future, one thing is very clear: Fort Collins is an awesome community of great people and we can accomplish virtually anything — if we work together. Often, the issues considered by City Council elicit strong opinions and differing perspectives, as they should. Each decision City Council makes directly impacts our community and directly impacts you. So we encourage you to get involved. If we all commit to respectful debate and healthy dialogue, we can find the solutions that best fit our entire community.

In summary, the state of our city is strong. The future of Fort Collins is bright — and our future is full of promise. Together, we can fully achieve that promise.

Doug Hutchinson is the mayor of Fort Collins and Darin Atteberry is the city manager of Fort Collins. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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