Fort Collins recently found the area around College, just south of Prospect, blighted. It includes ChuckECheese, Dairy Queen, and early strip malls.
The area in the photo above is behind the strip malls. It was a trailer park, but it took the worst of the 1997 flood (several residents drowned trying to leave) and the trailers have since been hauled away. I hear we’ll have apartments there soon.
So, what makes blight? The city has several criteria. But my short answer is “anywhere that Latinos might be starting to open successful businesses.”
This is one of maybe 3 areas in town with Latino businesses, and all would qualify as blighted by our standards.
So, I have 3 wishes for the Prospect/College renewal plan:
1. That it finds a way to include the affordable little businesses that reside there now–Mexican markets, used books, used games, cheap exercise, ordinary ice cream.
2. That it finds an architectural approach that transcends 21st century monster strip mall, er, Lifestyle Center.
3. That it finds a way to keep the trailer park trees.
I think a Googie approach to renewal would be appropriate in some of these areas. I was so disappointed that there wasn’t an effort to do this with new development in Campus West.
I love the people and food at Los Comales on the corner with Prospect (especially their lengua tacos), but I dislike how the new exterior architecture was renovated after the flood.
The Marina Roof from the old Safeway in the buildings out of which Harbor Freight Tools and Chucky Cheese operate could use some paint love to accent the Googie (like Gart Brothers, now Sports Authority did on College).
I still can remember when that plaza on the southwest corner of Prospect and College was a destination area – it had an old-style swoop-topped Safeway, and the FOX THEATER. Ah, the Fox – where all of Fort Collins watched Star Wars in 1977, where I saw Ghandi, where countless summer days went by watching old cartoons and Disney movies as part of a movie summer camp deal for kids. Any pictures on this site of people in line for Star Wars, wrapped around the block?