Feb 152012
Authors: Andrew Carrera

Despite its central role in the Fort Collins community, CSU was given passing reference during the annual State of the City address given Wednesday night.

“That might have been a perceived weak spot,” said Fort Collins Mayor Karen Weitkunat in the minutes after the presentation.

She and City Manager Darin Atteberry used the one-and-a-half-hour time window allotted for the speech to discuss three key issues for the city, referred to as the triple bottom line: economics, sustainability and society.

Video clips depicting Fort Collins’ successes in these areas were played on a giant screen the Canyon West Room at the city’s Lincoln Center to a crowd of about 200 onlookers. The attendees heard the two city officials expand on each clip’s subject after they finished playing.

A few minutes of the multimedia address were spent talking about how beneficial CSU is to the city’s economy. The other hour-and-twenty-five minutes of it had no mention of the university.

Atteberry said CSU’s additional contributions to the community were implied throughout the speech. They weren’t explicitly stated because there wasn’t enough time to do so.

“It in no way should be interpreted as a lack of awareness and appreciation,” he said. “In fact, I think we can do an entire (address) on the impact the university has and students have on this community.”

Nonetheless, Fort Collins Councilman Kelly Ohlson felt the absence of CSU references. But he added that the university wasn’t the only aspect of the community largely left out of the evening’s presentation.

“ … I’m sure that a couple of people in are into the arts and culture in town are going, ‘That wasn’t mentioned.’ And the parks weren’t really mentioned, so there were quite a few aspects that weren’t talked about,” he said.

But the councilman cautioned against criticizing city officials too heavily for passing over certain fundamental Fort Collins entities by not discussing them meaningfully in the address.

“Just depending on what the theme is and all that, sometimes it might be a major element of the State of the City, and other times, not as much,” he said.

Ohlson explained that the city government had recently added on a Department of Sustainability –– a bragging right that officials wanted to greatly emphasize and dedicate much of their speaking time to explaining what it’s done for the community.

“There’s not some kind of conscious decision of winners and losers or anything like that. There’s no statement behind it. The focus was something different,” he said.

“ … You just can’t hit on it all.”

The councilman predicted that the next State of the City –– like previous ones –– would include far more discussion of CSU and other themes.

After all, “ … you don’t want to have the same (address) every year with people coming back,” he said.

Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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