10 to run for 3 Glenwood council seats
Ten candidates, including three former Glenwood Springs City Council members, have declared their intentions to run for three open council seats that will be decided in the April 4 city election.
Five candidates submitted nominating petitions by the Monday deadline for the at-large seat that is being vacated by Stephen Bershenyi, who is term limited after serving eight years on council.
Seeking to take his place will be two former council members, Shelley Kaup, who sat on council from 2007-11; and Rick Davis, who served from 1999-2003. They will be joined by longtime Downtown Development Authority board member Charlie Willman and political newcomers Jonathan Gorst and Munro Wilcox.
In addition, the Ward 2 and Ward 5 seats being vacated by Matt Steckler and Leo McKinney, also due to term limits, will be up for election.
Vying for the Ward 5 (south Glenwood) seat will be another former council member, Don Gillespie, who also served from 1999-2003. He is joined by Sarah Gordon, Amber Wissing and Jonathan Godes in vying for that seat.
And, unless someone declares as a write-in candidate, there will only be one candidate, Rick Voorhees, seeking election to the Ward 2 (West Glenwood) seat.
Candidates have until Jan. 31 to withdraw their nomination before ballots are printed. Here is a little about the candidates who will be running this spring.
Rick Davis (At large)
Davis served a single term on the Glenwood council as the city was beginning to review what would become the Glenwood Meadows commercial center and mixed-used development. He sat on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission prior to that.
As the new Grand Avenue bridge is completed, he said he hopes to lend a voice to the planning that will take place with the confluence area where the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers meet.
“The confluence was an important aspect of things as we were talking about the Meadows,” Davis noted.
“For citizens like myself, a lot of stuff has come down over last few years that have been pretty overwhelming,” he said. “A lot more needs be done for individuals in this community, including ensuring good water and good roads.”
Jonathan Gorst (at large)
Gorst settled in Glenwood Springs with his wife in 2014 after working in the Broadway musical industry, and he is now part owner of the Riviera Supper Club and Piano Bar.
“I wanted to give another voice and be an advocate for the downtown core,” he said.
“Changes are happening right before our eyes, and we need to find ways to take advantage of that,” Gorst said of the ongoing Grand Avenue bridge replacement.
With his background in the arts, he said he would like to help the city look at ways to bring a performing arts center to Glenwood and explore how arts districts have been established elsewhere in Colorado.
“Glenwood Springs is at an exciting place in its history, and that has motivated me to become involved a little bit more,” he said.
Shelley Kaup (at large)
Kaup served a single term on council from 2007-11, but decided not to run for a second term in order to focus more time on her work.
She is now a program manager and sustainability consultant with the nonprofit Clean Energy Economy for the Region.
“I found that I really missed it,” she said of her previous work on City Council.
“With the completion of the bridge, there will be a lot of emphasis on all of the redevelopment that will take place around that,” Kaup observed in regards to redevelopment plans for the confluence as well as the Sixth and Seventh street corridors.
Efforts to get the South Bridge project off the ground and see it through to completion is also a top priority, she said.
“I’m also interested in neighborhood issues,” Kaup said. “We’re a wonderful tourist destination, but we need to keep focused on the local citizens, and make sure we are protecting their neighborhoods and lifestyles.”
Munro Wilcox (at large)
Wilcox is a recent new Glenwood resident, having moved here from the Denver area part time in 2013 and then full time the following year.
He was a “stay-at-home dad” for several years until his children grew up and moved out. He now works a variety of part-time jobs including driving for Colorado Mountain Express and working for natural gas distributor Wood River Energy.
“I’ve been fascinated by the goings-on here, and wanted to partake and help out with various decisions,” Wilcox said, also citing the confluence, Sixth and Seventh street projects as ones he would like to help influence.
“I have a hospitality and tourism management background, and am interested in how the town is evolving as a tourist attraction,” he said.
Charlie Willman (at large)
Willman recently completed two terms on the Downtown Development Authority, a City Council-appointed board that oversees and plans public projects using the city’s special tax increment financing that is levied on downtown properties.
“I like doing things for the city and giving back to my community,” he said. “I think I can bring my knowledge from my time with the DDA and as a businessperson to the council.”
Willman has lived in the Glenwood Springs area since 1976, and was a former municipal judge and city attorney for Glenwood Springs.
Don Gillespie (Ward 5)
Gillespie served during the same period of time as Rick Davis, but lost in his re-election bid for the at-large seat in 2003 to Joe O’Donnell. He is now running for the Ward 5 seat, representing his south Glenwood neighborhood.
Neighborhood issues, primarily infrastructure concerns with Midland Avenue and the Sunlight (27th Street) bridge, top his list of concerns.
“Glenwood Park and the whole south Glenwood area has been impacted tremendously with the bridge construction,” Gillespie said. “We only have one way in and out of town … and I’m very concerned about what is going to be done to help with the traffic.”
Midland Avenue in particular has not received adequate maintenance, he said, “and we don’t want to wait until the South Bridge comes in.”
Jonathan Godes (Ward 5)
Godes is the executive director for the Early Childhood Network. While also focused on the neighborhood concerns regarding traffic and road improvements, Godes said he takes a broader view on the many issues facing the city.
“Glenwood is at an interesting crossroads with the new bridge opening and the confluence development,” he said. “We also have some pretty dire situations around affordable housing and early child care, and some infrastructure needs that really need to be addressed.”
Midland Avenue in particular should be brought up to safe standards, he said, adding it’s also important for the tourist economy.
Sarah Gordon (Ward 5)
Gordon grew up in Glenwood Springs, and after leaving for college and living in different places around the country including Chattanooga, Portland and San Diego, she and her husband returned to Glenwood to raise a family.
“We lived in some amazing places, but when we were ready to have children we wanted to come back to Glenwood,” she said. “I worked in city government in Chattanooga, which has a really nice riverfront, and there are a lot of great ideas I can bring to Glenwood.
“As I’ve gone from place to place, I’ve observed what works and what doesn’t, and I’m ready to share back with my home town,” Gordon said.
As an occupational health and safety consultant, she said she can also bring some ideas to the table regarding emergency preparedness, which she said is a key concern for the south Glenwood area with its access restrictions.
Amber Wissing (Ward 5)
Wissing is a Glenwood Springs native who has lived in the Cardiff Glen neighborhood for 10 years and manages a local dentist office. Like the other ward candidates, neighborhood impacts are a top concern.
“We have a front-row seat, and we see what is happening on that route,” she said of the Midland corridor. “It’s time for someone who is invested in the community and the neighborhood to really get involved.”
As a neighborhood representative, she said it’s important to “get out and talk to people.” That goes for the larger issues facing the city, as well, Wissing said, adding, “I try to be open to what everyone has to say.”
Rick Voorhees (Ward 2)
Voorhees said he sees public service as a “worthy goal,” and “something all people ought to be more invested in.”
With a background in strategic planning and organizational development, he said he hopes that he can help the city look “five or 10 years” into the future in terms of planning.
“It’s really important that Glenwood undertake economic development and identify itself as a place where creative-class individuals want to locate and bring ideas to the city,” Voorhees said.
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Following Glenwood Springs City Council Member Steve Davis’ resignation, the council approved a timeline for filling his seat during a special meeting Thursday.