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On our ballots: Hughes Stadium ordinance

graphic illustration of horsetooth rock with filled out ballots floating in the wind above
(Graphic illustration by Abby Flitton | The Collegian)

A proposed City ordinance up for a vote during the April 6 election would compel the City of Fort Collins to attempt to purchase the land that formerly housed Hughes Stadium in order to zone the land as open space. 

Hughes Stadium was vacated in 2016 when the CSU football team moved to Canvas Stadium and was demolished in 2018. 

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CSU, in conjunction with Lennar Corporation, a property development company, has developed a plan to turn the space into an affordable housing community for CSU faculty and staff. The University’s plans also include a transit center and will reserve a portion of the land as open space for residents of Fort Collins to enjoy. 

If passed, the citizen-initiated ordinance would require the City to attempt to purchase the former Hughes Stadium property and reserve the area as a natural open space.

We have a really unique opportunity to use land-grant University land for the public good and for the benefit of everyone in the community, not a select few.” -Sarah Rossiter, PATHS representative

Brett Anderson, special assistant to the CSU system chancellor, said that CSU’s plan addresses both the need for housing and the desire among residents for an open space area. 

“Nearly 50% of the land we will keep as undeveloped open space,” Anderson said. “We don’t think solutions in Fort Collins have to be ‘either/or;’ we think solutions can be ‘and.’ We think those are the best solutions.” 

Some Fort Collins residents, however, argue that all of the land should be converted into open space, rather than just a small portion within the proposed housing community. Local groups such as Planning Action to Transform Hughes Sustainably have organized to advocate for the use of the land as a fully open, 164.5-acre space. 

Sarah Rossiter, PATHS representative, said that this area is a vital part of the Fort Collins identity and should be preserved for “the public good.” 

Further, she says the area holds a great deal of ecological significance.

“We have a really unique opportunity to use land-grant University land for the public good and for the benefit of everyone in the community, not a select few,” Rossiter said. 

The text of the citizen-initiated ordinance directs the City of Fort Collins to “acquire the property at its fair market value,” which currently sits at $10 million. The area will be rezoned as “public open lands” immediately upon passage of the ordinance, according to the ballot text. 

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A “yes” vote would favor the effort to buy and zone the Hughes lot as public open space, and a “no” vote would oppose this effort. 

Natalie Weiland can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @natgweiland

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About the Contributor
Natalie Weiland
Natalie Weiland, News Director
Natalie Weiland is a sophomore political science student with a minor in legal studies and a fierce love of the Oxford comma. Weiland grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and served as an editor for her high school’s yearbook during her senior year. She credits the absolute chaos of the 2016 presidential election for introducing her to — and getting her hooked on — the world of politics and journalism. Her journey with The Collegian started in the fall of her freshman year when she began writing for the news desk.  In her spare time, Weiland enjoys reading and attempting to not have a heart attack every time The New York Times sends a breaking news update to her phone. She has two incredibly adorable dogs (that she will gladly show pictures of if asked) and three less-adorable siblings.  As news director, Weiland's main goal is to ensure that students trust The Collegian to cover stories that are important to and affect them, and she hopes that students are never afraid to reach out and start a conversation. Weiland is excited to see what The Collegian has in store this year and hopes to explore the campus community through reporting. 

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