Fort Collins, CO

  • Fort Collins was founded as a military fort in 1864 and incorporated as a town in 1873.
  • Fort Collins is a home rule city with a Council/Manager form of government. The Council is made up of six district council members who are elected on a non-partisan basis for a four-year term and a Mayor who is elected at-large on a non-partisan basis for a two-year term.
  • This rapidly urbanizing community operates under a sophisticated and comprehensive development plan and is a full-service city.
  • Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University and an outstanding public school system.
  • Fort Collins continues to reinvest in community improvements. Recent voter-approved capital improvement initiatives have enabled the City to build Gateway Park, Edora Skate Park, the new City office building at 215 N. Mason, the Downtown Transit Center and the Civic Center Parking Structure. Funds were also used for numerous street improvements, to provide a second sheet of ice for Edora Pool and Ice Center and to construct a new Community Horticulture Center.


Mountain Ave to Old Town

  • Fort Collins is nestled against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and alongside the banks of the Cache La Poudre River.
  • The city lies approximately 5,000 feet above sea level.
  • Residents enjoy a moderate, four season climate with an average of 300 days of sunshine and 14.5 inches of precipitation a year.
  • July is the average warmest month (Avg. High 86°F – Avg. Low 57°F)
  • January is the average coolest month (Avg. High 42°F – Avg. Low 14°F)

Finances (Updated March 2011)


  • Fort Collins' unemployment rate is 8.1 (December 2010, Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • The City/State/County has a combined sales tax rate of 7.55 percent on general merchandise.
  • The residential property tax rate is 9.797 mills.
  • The City's biennial budget was accepted in November 2010.

General Population Characteristics


  • Fort Collins encompasses 53.38 square miles (2009) of area and has a total of 492 street miles (2006).
  • The current estimated number of housing units in Fort Collins as of July, 2009 (preliminary estimate) is 59,229.
  • Fort Collins has a population of 143,986 (2010 Census).
  • The average annual population growth rate is 1.4 percent (2009 – preliminary estimate).
  • Median age is 29.4 years old (US Census 2006).
  • Median household income is $72,248 (2006).
  • Approximately 48.2% of the population has completed four or more years of college (2006 US Census).

Services and Amenities

Old Town Square

  • The City maintains more than 600 acres of parks, 30,000 acres of natural areas, 20 miles of off-street hike/ bike trails, three golf courses, a racquet center, three swimming pools, an ice rink and a community center.
  • Fort Collins supports multiple transportation options including 18 bus routes and 200 miles of on-street and off-street trails for pedestrians and bicycles.
  • The Lincoln Center is the City's cultural arts center. Activities include professional theatre, dance, music, visual arts and children's programs.
  • The Fort Collins Senior Center includes a pool, spa, gymnasium, track, billiards, crafts and a community media center/library.
  • The community library system ( includes the Main Public Library, Council Tree Library and the Harmony Library, a join-use facility shared with Front Range Community College. The public libraries provide youth programs, computer labs and resources and information for Spanish-speaking citizens.
  • The Fort Collins Museum displays the history of Fort Collins and Larimer County from prehistoric times to present day.
  • Fort Collins provides electric and water utilities to residents. It has the second largest electric system in Colorado, with electric rates ranking the sixth lowest in the state and among the lowest in the nation. Fort Collins Utilities was also first in Colorado and among the first in the country to offer green energy to its customers. Fort Collins continually meets or surpasses all state and federal water quality standards.
  • The Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport is jointly owned by the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland. With over 1,100 acres and roughly 300 aircraft, the airport serves the private a corporate aviation needs of the Northern Front Range, as well as charter flights and flights for area collegiate football teams.

Honors and Awards

Old Town Square

  • One of the top 15 Best Places for triathletes to live and train: Triathlete Magazine – August 2011
  • Ranked 5th Best Places for Business and Careers: Forbes – June 2011
  • Fort Collins, One of the Top 10 Cities Adopting Smart Grid Technology: U.S.News and World Report – May 2011
  • Top Colorado City for Job Growth, Fort Collins-Loveland: 2011 Best Cities for Job Growth, – May 2011
  • Third Happiest Metro Region, Fort Collins-Loveland, CO: Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index – 2011
  • One of the Top Ten Places to Retire in the Nation: Charles Schwab's On Investing – Spring 2011
  • 2011 Governor's Arts Award: Colorado Creative Industries and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade – March 2011
  • One of the Top 10 Best American cities to invest your real estate dollars in 2011: – December 2010
  • Named 5th Most Educated City in the country based on education levels of our adult population: – December 2010
  • Fourth Best State for Business, Colorado: Forbes magazine – October 2010
  • One the Top 25 Best Places to Retire: – September 2010
  • One of the Top 10 Best College Towns: Small-Sized Cities Category, USA Today – September 2010
  • One of the top six 'Smarter Cities' for Energy: Natural Resources Defense Council, (population 100,000-249,999) – August 2010
  • 6th Best Place to Live in the Nation: Money Magazine – July 2010
  • One of the Most Underrated Cities in the West: – June 2010
  • One of the Greatest Places to Live in the West: American Cowboy magazine – April 2010
  • Ranked 4th Best Places for Business and Careers: Forbes – April 2010
  • One of a Dozen Distinctive Destinations: National Trust for Historic Preservation – February 2010
  • Ranked 3rd 'Smarter City' for sustainability: Natural Resources Defense Council – July 2009
  • Named one of 10 Great Places for Entrepreneurs to Retire: Forbes – June 2009
  • Ranked 1st Best Place to Live and Work for Young Professionals (pop. 100,000-200,000): Next Generation Consulting – March 2009
  • Named 2nd Best Metro for Business and Careers: Forbes magazine – March 2009
  • Ranked 7th Best Midsize Metro in the nation: – March 2009
  • One of Top 20 Places to Thrive: Best Boomer Towns – February 2009
  • Ranked 10th Best-Educated City in America: Forbes magazine – November 2008
  • One of the Best Places to Raise Your Kids: Business Week – November 2008
  • LEED Gold designation for the Northside Aztlan Community Center; U.S. Green Build Council: October 2008 -
  • Gold level Bicycle Friendly Community: League of American Bicyclists – September 2008
  • 2nd Best Place to Live: Money magazine – August 2008
  • One of 8 Enriching Towns for Art and Music Lovers: Where to Retire magazine – April 2008.
  • Named 3rd Best Place for Business and Career: Forbes magazine – March 2008
  • Ranked 39th Best Place to Live and Launch a Business: CNN/Money – March 2008
  • Top 10 Digital Cities; Center for Digital Government, September 2007: -
  • One of 30 Fast Cities, due to innovation and creativity of workforce: Fast Company magazine – July 2007
  • 9th Best Place to Invest in Real Estate: Business 2.0 – May 2007
  • Top 10 College Towns for Grown-Ups: Kiplinger's magazine – March 2007
  • Named a Preserve America Community: First Lady Laura Bush – 2007
  • One of America's Most Walkable Small Cities: – 2007
  • One of the Best Places for Business and Careers: Forbes magazine – 2007
  • Fort Collins listed among the Top 10 College Towns for Grown-Ups: Kiplinger magazine – March 2007
  • Fort Collins Ranked 4th among College Towns With Great Golf : Business Week Online (Golf Digest) – November 2006
  • Fort Collins came in 9th on "Where to Buy Now": Business 2.0 magazine – November 2006
  • #1 Best Place to Live in the Nation: Money Magazine – August 2006
  • Listed as 23rd among 63 Hot Mid-Sized Cities for Entrepreneurs: Entrepreneur magazine – August 2006
  • Seated as the 6th Best Places for Business and Career: Forbes magazine – May 2006
  • Ranked 2nd (moved up from 9th place in 2005) for having the Safest Drivers: Allstate Insurance – May 2006
  • Fort Collins is one of the 50 Best Places to Live (ranked 34th): Kiplinger's magazine – June 2006
  • Rated as the 6th most Affordable Communities/Best Places to Raise Your Family: Frommer's – May 2006
  • Fort Collins received the Preserve America Grant: – March 2006
  • Fort Collins is one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People: America's Promise – September 2005
  • City of Fort Collins earns "Bicycle Friendly Community" national award: League of American Bicyclists – 2005
  • "American Dream Town." Fort Collins rated as one of the Best Towns in the U.S.: Outside Magazine – August 2005)
  • Fort Collins drivers are the ninth best in the nation: Allstate Insurance Company's ("America's Best Drivers Report.") -
  • Fort Collins & Larimer County Named Top Nature-Friendly Communities: – June, 2005
  • Selected as 4th best place to live in the United States: Men's Journal – April 2005
  • Officially designated as a "Take Pride In America Community": – March 2005
  • City of Fort Collins selected as "Top Retirement Spot": Where to Retire magazine – March/April 2005
  • Fort Collins was designated a Preserve America Community for its committment to historic preservation and celebration of our priceless cultural and natural heritage. : First Lady Laura Bush – 2004
  • City of Fort Collins Web Site: #1 in the Nation!: – September, 2004
  • "Top 5 Places to Retire": – July, 2003
  • Fort Collins ranks No. 29 on the list of best places for business and careers in America's small cities.: Forbes Magazine -
  • Fort Collins ranks #4 of the 50 best places to live in the United states (The criteria included the familiarity of a small town but with attractive amenities, good weather, location, all around livable and inviting.): Men's Journal – May 2003
  • Loveland/Fort Collins is the #1 Best Place to Reinvent Your Life: AARP Magazine – May & June 2003 edition

(source: City of Fort Collins website 2011)