The new on-campus stadium may be a failure or a fortune for Fort Collins — depending on who you ask on city council.
Tuesday, Oct.15 marked City Council’s first public discussion over the on-campus stadium. Since then, council members voiced their opinions on the issues.
City Council members Bob Overbeck, Gino Campana, Wade Troxell, Ross Cunniff and Gerry Horak have all mentioned concerns over traffic and noise in the city due to the stadium, and suggested that public involvement regarding these concerns will be crucial in the development process of the project.
Beyond this, there was little similarity to be found between each council members views on the stadium.
Ross Cunniff District 5.
Council member Cunniff suggested that the stadium is focused toward private donors and out-of-state students, which aligns with the goals of a private school rather than a public one. Cunniff stated that if CSU continues to move on the path of privatization, certain privileges may need to be revoked, such as CSU’s current freedom to dictate any and all construction within campus limits.
“The purpose of this stadium is to attract private donations in order to move to a private model over a public one,” Cunniff said. “(And) if CSU is going to go to a private institution, we will need to take away some of its power.”
Wade Troxell District 4.
Council member Troxell’s primary concern was CSU’s lack of engagement with both the public and the council during this process.
“CSU has been telling the community what will happen rather than engaging them,” Troxell said. “The stadium shouldn’t focus on the personal interests of a few at CSU.”
Troxell questioned the project by inquiring into the qualifications of those deciding the fate of the stadium: the CSU Board of Governors.
“Only one member of the Board of Governors is from Fort Collins,” Troxell said. “The Board doesn’t have a perspective on the impacts to the community.”
Bob Overbeck District 1.
Council member Overbeck aligned with Cunniff’s view that moving toward a private model would not be a positive thing for CSU.
“The availability of public education is part of our democratic process,” Overbeck said. “(The stadium) could force the university into that position, (which) would be a very sad day.”
Beyond this, Overbeck focused primarily on how the stadium will negatively contribute to the dynamic in the surrounding neighborhoods.
“The neighborhoods are seriously concerned about game days,” Overbeck said. “We’re becoming a stadium district.”
Overbeck was also troubled by the environmental impacts to the surrounding area of the stadium. He suggested that with an increase in traffic in that area, more cars will idle which will lead to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions that will contribute negatively to the environment.
“We’re losing the air quality battle,” Overbeck said.
Gino Campana District 3.
There are those on city council that are very optimistic about the process. Council member Campana discussed how the stadium will show CSU off to many more who pass through the city.
“The university is a gem of our community and when we fill the stadium they will see the campus,” Campana said. “In the end, it will bring our community together.”
Campana responded to many of the other council members’ concerns, including the possibility of CSU becoming a privatized university. Campana agreed with the stadium’s goal of attracting out-of-state students, because out-of-state students provide more revenue for the university at a time of financial struggle.
“Funds are decreasing, adjustments have to be made,” Campana said. “Running a university is becoming more and more difficult by the day.”
Campana feels that the stadium will be a positive asset to the city.
“The stadium is going to be world class, just like our community and just like our university,” Campana said.
Gerry Horak District 6.
Council member Horak feels that none of the opinions of those on city council truly have an impact on the fate of the stadium.
“It’s not a City of Fort Collins decision,” Horak said. “Tony Frank has already decided on his premise, so all I can do is inform him of the impacts.”
Horak suggests that the Fort Collins community needs to provide their input during the upcoming development process, including sending emails and going to the CSU Board of Governor meetings.
Horak maintains that at city council, not much can be done to put gas or brakes on the stadium project.
“I think (the opinions of the other council members) are interesting, but that’s not our job,” Horak said. “Its not our decision.”
Council member Lisa Poppaw and Mayor Karen Weitkunat could not be reached for comment.
Collegian Senior Reporter Caitlin Curley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.