Incumbents, P&Z chair pull council petitions
An early look at the prospective candidates for Glenwood Springs City Council this spring includes three incumbents, a former council member and the current chairwoman of the city’s planning and zoning commission.
Three ward seats and one at-large seat on the seven-member council are to be decided by voters in the city’s April 7 mail ballot election.
Nominating petitions were made available last week. Candidates have until Jan. 26 to return them with the requisite 25 signatures of registered city electors in order to be included on the ballot.
So far, incumbents Ted Edmonds from Ward 1, Todd Leahy in Ward 3 and Mike Gamba in Ward 4 have taken out petitions to run again, but have not yet begun circulating them.
Former Ward 1 council member Russ Arensman, who was defeated four years ago by Edmonds in a tight race, is also considering another run at the council seat he held from 2008-2011.
And, Kathy Trauger, who currently chairs the Planning and Zoning Commission, intends to run for the open at-large seat. That seat will be vacated by Councilman Dave Sturges, who has served two terms and cannot run again.
“There are a variety of issues that are going to be important in the next four years that are really, really critical for Glenwood Springs,” Trauger said of her interest in running for City Council.
Chief among them is the Grand Avenue bridge project, which Trauger supports and has written extensively about in her “Our Town Glenwood Springs” blog and her monthly column in the Post Independent. Trauger and the PI have agreed to suspend her column for at least the duration of the campaign.
Not only the bridge, but a variety of related issues outlined in the city’s ongoing transportation master planning process, will be at the forefront of council’s policies and priorities in the coming years, she said.
“Another issue I want to see addressed has to do with transparency, and the availability of information from the city,” Trauger said.
Edmonds said that after giving it a lot of thought, he intends to run for re-election from Ward 1, which includes the west side of Grand Avenue in the downtown area, the Red Mountain neighborhood and the Midland Avenue corridor from West Glenwood to 27th Street.
“There are a lot of things out there that I would like to see finished, and I feel like I need to help see it through,” Edmonds said.
Arensman said he is still weighing his decision whether to give it another try in the upcoming election.
“I have been giving it some serious thought, and I am interested,” he said. “I just have to be absolutely sure I’m ready to make the time commitment.”
Gamba said he is “99 percent” sure he’ll seek re-election from Ward 4, which includes the area east of Grand Avenue and the Roaring Fork River south of 14th Street.
As with Edmonds, Gamba said there’s a lot of unfinished business on some key issues that he would like to see through, including work on the long-range transportation plan.
“We’re going to have to look at the next steps in that plan and begin pursuing them by priority,” Gamba said. “I am interested in seeing us move forward on that plan and start resolving some of the traffic problems in Glenwood.”
Leahy, whose Ward 3 includes the downtown area east of Grand Avenue and north of the Grand Avenue bridge, confirmed he has taken out a petition but is waiting to see who else is running for sure before making a decision.
“If I feel like I can be effective with the group that’s running, then I will likely run again,” he said.
At least one other person requested a nominating packet on Friday, according to City Clerk Catherine Mythen. However, the person did not indicate which seat might be of interest.
Also remaining to be seen is whether the Citizens to Save Grand Avenue group, which opposes the current plans to replace the Grand Avenue/Highway 82 bridge, will put up one or more candidates for the open seats.
“I’ve talked to a few, but at this point nobody that lives in the city has mentioned they are willing to do that,” said John Haines, who chairs the Save Grand group but who does not live within city limits himself.
Candidates must be a U.S. citizens, be qualified to vote and must have resided in Glenwood Springs for at least one year prior to April 7. Ward candidates must also reside within the ward from which they are running, but at-large candidates can live anywhere in the city.
For more information or to request a nominating petition and packet, contact the city clerk at 384-6403.
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Roaring Fork Schools volunteers who have already completed a comparable background check through an approved entity would be good to go.