Fort Collins voters are at the polls today, voting in a new city council. Before the current members depart, they’ll vote on a new City Plan that’s been in the works for more than a year. You can view the draft here, and you can get insights from the city’s long-range planning manager, Cameron Gloss, in our February edition.
The plan is expected to sail through when City Council votes on it in two weeks, and it will do so with support and gratitude from the Family Center/La Familia, one of the designated “community ambassadors” that helped gather input from the public.
“We work with low-income, Hispanic and Latinx community members,” says Emily Gorgol (pictured at right), La Familia’s special projects manager. “Historically, those voices have been left out of city planning or county planning. This was the first time the city recognized that their community engagement strategy may not have the reach of all residents. It was the first time members of our community provided input on something like this.”
Of particular note, Gorgol says, “the city went back and added a provision in the plan to preserve mobile home communities. Mobile homes house a ton of residents in Fort Collins — just on North College alone there’s 2,500 to 3,000 residents — and those communities are ripe for displacement as the city develops. That’s an important part of the housing stock for the populations we work with.”
Although Fort Collins already had a displacement strategy in place to protect the rights of mobile home residents, the City Plan language was strengthened based on the input La Familia gathered from its stakeholders.
“Our communities have a real mistrust historically,” Gorgol says, “so they are really happy the city has heard them.”
Depending on the outcome of today’s elections, this might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship between La Familia and City Council. Gorgol is one of three candidates to fill the vacant District 6 seat in northwest Fort Collins. UPDATE: She won handily, with 48.7 percent of the vote in a three-way race.