Bershenyi sees challenge from former mayor
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Lyle Beattie, who served on Glenwood Springs City Council for six years in the early 1960s, including a two-year stint as mayor, is ready for another taste of local politics five decades later.
Beattie, along with incumbent council members Matt Steckler, Leo McKinney and Stephen Bershenyi, were the only candidates to turn in their nominating petitions by the Monday deadline to run in the April 2 City Council election.
A longtime retired businessman who moved back to Glenwood Springs last spring after 16 years in Arizona, Beattie, 89, will face Bershenyi for an at-large council seat.
No candidates stepped forward by the petition deadline to challenge Steckler in Ward 2 or McKinney in Ward 5.
Unless someone declares as a write-in candidate by the Monday, Jan. 28, deadline for any of the three open council seats, Steckler and McKinney will run unopposed.
That would leave just the two-person race between Bershenyi and Beattie to be decided by city voters for the at-large seat.
The last day for qualified residents to register to vote in the April 5 mail-ballot election is March 4, either at the Garfield County Clerk’s Office in the county courthouse, on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website, or at the local Division of Motor Vehicles office.
Also on the April 2 ballot will be a question seeking permission from city voters to sell a city-owned piece of property in the 700 block of Colorado Avenue to Garfield County for a future parking garage.
“It’s been nice to get back into my hometown, so to speak,” said Beattie, who moved to Glenwood Springs from Boulder in 1953 and was co-owner of the L-P Gas and Appliance Co. with his late brother, Hal, for many years.
Lyle and his late wife, Patsy, raised four children in Glenwood Springs, all of whom remain in the area.
“I’ve never been much of a political person, but I think everyone owes it to their community to serve in some capacity,” Beattie said. “If I can do some good, I’ll give it a try.”
Beattie said he will need to study up on the issues, such as the planned Grand Avenue bridge realignment, but says he doesn’t have a strong opinion on that or any other issue at this point.
Bershenyi, who turns 65 next month, is a Glenwood Springs native and works as a blacksmith. He was uncontested for his at-large seat in April 2009, and was elected by acclamation along with McKinney and Steckler, who were also unopposed that year.
“I think it’s good to have a contested race,” Bershenyi said. “People who know who I am, and who have been paying attention, know what I’m about.
“I am running again because I want to continue making a contribution to the welfare of the city I was raised in, and give something back. I’ve done my best to represent the city to the best of my ability, but it’s good to have a vote of confidence from the citizens.”
Bershenyi, McKinney and Steckler all said they want to help see several ongoing projects through to completion.
In addition to continuing work with state transportation officials on the replacement of the Grand Avenue/Highway 82 bridge, Bershenyi said he looks forward to helping plan for redevelopment of the confluence area in lower downtown Glenwood.
Steckler, 46, currently serves as the appointed mayor and represents the Ward 2 neighborhood in West Glenwood.
“I enjoy contributing to the betterment of the city, and to serving in my role as mayor,” said Steckler, who added he would like the opportunity to be considered for another two-year term as mayor.
“These are challenging times, especially with the bridge project. I do want to be here to see that and other issues through to the finish,” Steckler said.
McKinney, 42, said that in gathering nominating signatures in his Ward 5 neighborhood in south Glenwood, the biggest issue wasn’t the bridge project.
“One of the concerns for people here, and one of the biggest reasons I decided I wanted to stay on council, is the potential for gas drilling up on Four Mile, and the traffic that could put on Midland Avenue,” McKinney said.
McKinney added that he was disappointed that no other candidates came forward.
“It essentially took 50 signatures from people in my own neighborhood to hold office for eight years,” he said of the 25 required signatures on his nominating petition four years ago and again this year. “And those are the same people, for the most part.”
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