Midtown Business Improvement District Advances S. College Avenue Improvements
$200,000 committed to help realize a project nearly a decade in the making
Efforts to advance a complete makeover of S. College Avenue within the Midtown Business Improvement District (BID) are underway, thanks to a $200,000 commitment of BID funds to advance preliminary construction documents for a significant portion of the corridor. The study is specifically focused on S. College Avenue from Drake to Boardwalk, the portion of Midtown covered by the BID – a special taxing district established in 2017 to support Midtown commercial property owners and businesses in collectively planning, funding and implementing projects and programs.
The commitment of funds launches the outreach and design process to make many of the ideas included in the 2014 Midtown in Motion Plan and the 2013 Midtown Plan a reality. Both plans aimed to make S. College Avenue safer for all forms of travel, improve bicycle and pedestrian amenities as well as connections to MAX, and create a high-quality and attractive street that is truly a destination. The Midtown Plan includes high-level concepts for S. College Avenue and establishes a vision for a mixed-use multimodal corridor. Midtown in Motion built on those concepts and visions to produce a preferred design concept for S. College Avenue.
The process launched this week takes the preferred design and turns it into preliminary construction documents, which is the critical next step in the design process before capital funding can be acquired. The BID is and will continue to work with the City of Fort Collins to prioritize capital and infrastructure funding to ensure the project gets built in the near term. An additional $300,000 will be needed to complete the 30% documents. The BID is working with the City of Fort Collins and exploring both state and federal grant resources to ensure the entire design process can be completed in time to put the project’s construction cost in the City’s next budget cycle.
“The Midtown BID was established to serve as a catalyst to make significant projects like this a reality,” said Luke McFetridge, president of the Midtown BID Board. “The intent of our investment it that is our contribution will be multiplied, leveraging the resources needed to complete the construction documents and – eventually – yielding millions in capital dollars to truly transform this important corridor.”
The process to develop the preliminary construction documents launched in late December, and includes further exploration and determinations on the following items, all of which were identified in previous plan documents:
- Exploring opportunities to convert frontage roads along S. College to one-way, where practical
- Widened sidewalks/paths on both sides of the street for pedestrians and bicycles
- Upgraded and landscaped medians
- Exploration of future multi-modal transportation opportunities on S. College Avenue
- Intersection improvements at Thunderbird, Harvard, Swallow, Foothills Parkway, Monroe, Bockman and Boardwalk
- Improvements to the trail underpass connecting either side of S. College Avenue
- Crosswalk improvements throughout the corridor to improve pedestrian safety
- Coordination with the City regarding upgrades to utilities
- Placemaking improvements – including branded Midtown signage and wayfinding, creation of urban parks and plazas, adding public art and plantings, enhanced lighting, streetscaping, and street furniture
Stakeholder engagement will occur in the early part of 2022, including meetings with BID stakeholders, City teams, CDOT, Foothills representatives (who are also working on a redesign for their properties) and others.
The team selected to work on this project includes:
- BHA Design – A Fort Collins-based landscape architecture firm with previous experience working on S. College Avenue projects and with the BID on a design plan for placemaking
- Wilson & Company – A Front Range engineer and surveying firm with experience on S. College Avenue projects as well as the Midtown in Motion Plan.
- Fox Tuttle – A Denver-based traffic engineer with experience on S. College Avenue projects as well as the Midtown in Motion plan and MAX
The commitment to advance preliminary construction documents for S. College Avenue follows on a number of efforts launched by the BID in 2021 to support business recovery and market the corridor, including the creation of a new Midtown BID website, monthly newsletter and social media, and the hiring of a new executive director, Jamie Giellis.
To stay up to date on all Midtown happenings, visit MidtownFC.org and sign up for the monthly newsletter. You can also follow the Midtown BID on Facebook at @FCMidtownBID.