– By Dan England –

What elevates a city to become a home? Amenities, local businesses, community engagement—the quality of each can lift a municipality from the place where you rest your head to the place where you raise your family, recreate and even retire. Often, they matter more than size to the people who live there. We asked city leaders across Northern Colorado to name those qualities that they appreciate about their cities and their neighbors. 

 

FORT COLLINS

Jeni Arndt

Mayor of Fort Collins

What is the best thing about your town? 

The people. 

What is your second-favorite city in Northern Colorado, and why do you like it? 

Laporte-it is the gateway to the Poudre/Rist Canyons.

If you could pick one place to go in your town before you die, whether that’s a restaurant, a park, a bar or someplace else, where would it be? 

I’d go to City Park.

 

June Greist

Communications Director, Bohemian Foundation 

What is the best thing about your town?

Our city is just the right size to chat with a new person every day. Fort Collins is where I grew up. After time on the East Coast, it became my chosen hometown as well. 

 What is your second-favorite city in Northern Colorado, and why do you like it? 

Estes Park is our family’s vacation home base. We cozy up in a cabin or stay at the Y, enjoy the fantastic small eateries, and hike or snowshoe all day.

If you could pick one place to go in your town before you die, whether that’s a restaurant, a park, a bar or someplace else, where would it be?

I’d get my millionth cup of hot soup at the Mountain Avenue Market Food Co-Op and I’d sip it outside.

 

Ann Hutchison

President & CEO, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce

 What is the best thing about your town? 

The ownership that citizens have in this community.  It isn’t just a place to live or work.

What is your second-favorite city in Northern Colorado, and why do you like it? 

Laporte.  We had a family business there for 20 years and were so honored to serve the community members.  It’s a wonderful, small community that supports each other.  

If you could pick one place to go in your town before you die, whether that’s a restaurant, a park, a bar or someplace else, where would it be? 

It would probably be a town drive to see each of the homes that my family occupied while in this community. There is something special about home.

 

LOVELAND

Sean Hawkins

Executive Director, Loveland Downtown District

What is the best thing about your town? 

It’s the pace of Loveland that I enjoy the most. We get stuff done here, but there’s also time to develop relationships with almost everyone you get to collaborate with.

What is your second-favorite city in Northern Colorado, and why do you like it? 

I’ve been enjoying some trips to downtown Greeley recently, mostly to drink beer at WeldWerks and eat tacos, but that’s what I love to do the most. 

If you could pick one place to go in your town before you die, whether that’s a restaurant, a park, a bar or someplace else, where would it be? 

I just love Benson Sculpture Garden. It’s close to my house so my son and I get to enjoy it through the seasons and at different times of day. Loveland is lucky to have it.

 

Cindy Mackin

Director, Visit Loveland

What is the best thing about your town? 

This city has everything you love. It has all the amenities of a larger city, from The Ranch and the Budweiser Events Center, to all the outdoors you could want. I moved here in 1991, and while it’s changed significantly since then, it still feels like the small town I grew up in. It just has more amenities now.

What is your second-favorite city in Northern Colorado, and why do  you like it? 

I went to Colorado State University—Go Rams—so Fort Collins, but I also like it because their downtown is phenomenal. The mix of restaurants and shops and experiences you can have there is amazing.  

If you could pick one place to go in your town before you die, whether that’s a restaurant, a park, a bar or someplace else, where would it be? 

This one is easy. Benson Sculpture Garden. I’ve walked my dogs there a million times, and I think I see something new every time. It’s the best representation of what this city is about.

 

GREELEY

John Gates

Mayor of Greeley

What is the best thing about your town? 

[Greeley is] small enough to get around easily, but large enough for sufficient amenities such as restaurants and entertainment.

What is your second-favorite city in Northern Colorado, and why do you like it? 

All of NOCO is unique in its own way, but I would say Evans. Our city boundaries touch, and we have a lot of collaboration.

If you could pick one place to go in your town before you die, whether that’s a restaurant, a park, a bar or someplace else, where would it be? 

I would like to build a bonfire and watch the sunset with an adult beverage at Missile Silo Park.

 

Becky Safarik

Former Assistant City Manager, current interim Community Development Director 

What is the best thing about your town? 

First is the wonderful variety of people who are part of our city, from the college community to our multi-cultural residents to our volunteers, incredible and talented creatives, and the variety of local businesses found here. Secondly, I appreciate our unique rural/urban personality, love of the land and its natural attributes, and that Greeley benefits from our close and cooperative relationship with our neighboring communities but is still identifiable by our location.

What is your second-favorite city in Northern Colorado, and why do you like it? 

I’d have to say Fort Collins would rank second, as another college community with lots of energy, resources and enrichment opportunities. 

If you could pick one place to go in your town before you die, whether that’s a restaurant, a park, a bar or someplace else, where would it be? 

I would choose our newest open space area by Missile Silo Park with a view of the Poudre River: beautiful vista, great cloud-watching, space to be reflective, watch a sunset and enjoy nature. 

 

WINDSOR

Michelle Vance

Executive Director, Windsor Chamber of Commerce

What is the best thing about your town? 

We are small enough to be quaint, but big enough to be a destination. We are a very family-oriented community that works well together. We have an incredible relationship with the Town of Windsor, Downtown Development Authority and our local nonprofits. I like to think of our community as a nest. There are many parts of a nest that make up a quality place to raise your family and business.

What is your second-favorite city in Northern Colorado, and why do you like it? 

Downtown Fort Collins.

If you could pick one place to go in your town before you die, whether that’s a restaurant, a park, a bar or someplace else, where would it be? 

Chimney Park Restaurant. It is the only 5-Star Wine Spectacular Award Winning restaurant in Northern Colorado. It is an elegant but homey business located in the heart of our historic downtown.

 

WELLINGTON 

Calar Chaussee

Mayor of Wellington

What is the best thing about your town? 

The best thing about Wellington is the fact that no matter where you go you will run into a friend. The sense of community is great.

What is your second-favorite city in Northern Colorado, and why do you like it? 

Windsor. I love the restaurants and seeing how they’ve developed their downtown. It’s changed a lot since I was a firefighter there and it’s been cool to see.

If you could pick one place to go in your town before you die, whether that’s a restaurant, a park, a bar or someplace else, where would it be? 

I’d go out east of town by the radio tower to watch the sunset. I grew up out there and the view and memories are very dear to my heart. 

 

TIMNATH

Brett Hansen

Timnath Town Council 

What is the best thing about your town? 

Timnath is a great place for families. There is a growing network of parks and trails, and an energy that can be felt that naturally attracts people our way. There is growth, but still a small town feel in many ways.

What is your second-favorite city in Northern Colorado, and why do you like it? 

Estes Park. Their proximity to the mountains and the atmosphere of the town is unique and a lot of fun. Also, traffic from the elk rut is more entertaining than traffic from commuting.

If you could pick one place to go in your town before you die, whether that’s a restaurant, a park, a bar or someplace else, where would it be ?

In a town the size of Timnath, it doesn’t take long to see it all. So, I would have to go for a unique experience. I am going to say rappelling off the Timnath water tower!

 

BERTHOUD

William Karspeck

Mayor of Berthoud 

What is the best thing about your town? 

We have a real sense of community in Berthoud that’s remained even through our growth. I think it’s a great option for those looking to start a family or just a new chapter in their life. With so many new amenities and things to do, and with easy access to outdoor activities and big-city amenities, I believe Berthoud is a great place to live.

What is your second-favorite city in Northern Colorado, and why do you like it? 

I love so many of them that it is hard to choose. I’d say as a Ram alumnus, and with many friends up there, I’ll go with Fort Collins.

If you could pick one place to go in your town before you die, whether that’s a restaurant, a park, a bar or someplace else, where would it be? 

Walking Hillsdale Park from the east. It’s off the beaten path. It’s a beautiful natural park with incredible views and a great place to interact with nature.

 

JOHNSTOWN

Gary Lebsack

Mayor of Johnstown

What is the best thing about your town? 

One of my favorite places in Johnstown is Urban Egg-their food is great!

 What is your second-favorite city in Northern Colorado, and why do you like it? 

It’s difficult to pick a second favorite city because we benefit so greatly from our regional partnerships and neighborly collaborations now-a-days. If I have to choose, I would say that I see a kinship with Windsor because I feel as though our town is going through similar growth and opportunities that it has.

If you could pick one place to go in your town before you die, whether that’s a restaurant, a park, a bar or someplace else, where would it be? 

If I could pick one place in the town, it would be the historic downtown. I always enjoy a walk through our downtown. It is the heart of our community and I like being reminded of that.