Q&A with Larry Emery
Editor’s note: Larry Emery stepped down from Glenwood Springs City Council in November after four years of service, the last two as mayor. Below, he answers some questions about his time in office.Q. When you joined council, did you ever envision becoming mayor? How did your family and friends react when they heard the news?A. No, never in my wildest dreams did I envision becoming mayor. I certainly did not campaign for the position; I was approached with the idea. My family was surprised and happy for me. My wife was concerned with the time commitment and the implications on our family time. My wife had to send copies of your paper to a few of our family and friends (as they weren’t certain if this was yet another practical joke.) Everyone was supportive and offered encouragement.Q. What do you consider some of the city’s biggest accomplishments during your time on council and as mayor?A. While many items large and small were accomplished over the four years, these are the items that stand out:• Opening of the Community Center swimming pool, tennis courts, running track, expanded fitness area and locker rooms. Also on the recreation front the skate rental/changing room, Sopris ball fields, expansion of the trail system and modernization of playground equipment.• The most important accomplishment would be in hiring an excellent city manager (Jeff Hecksel, the first new city manager hired in 20 years) and city attorney (Karl Hanlon). Related to the city attorney would be the Downtown Development Authority/tax increment financing lawsuit and prevailing with the Colorado Supreme Court.• The acquisition of land for the future relocation of Highway 82 along the rail corridor and having the project ranked by the Colorado Department of Transportation for the first time. Receiving several million dollars in funding for the south bridge project. The Grand Avenue Paving Project – it was complex, it could have been a nightmare, but it turned out great.• Street maintenance tax renewal. We would have been in dire straits financially without it.• Two new fire stations.Q. What were some of your biggest disappointments while in office?A. Not being able to move the Highway 82 relocation along quicker, build a parking garage downtown and see the south bridge project to fruition. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is in not being able to create a revenue stream for recreation and a tourist amenity (golf course, driving range.)Q. How did life in politics differ from expectations? What aspects were as you expected?A. The process to reach an outcome was more time-consuming and complex than I envisioned. Perhaps that was due to my previous political inexperience. I expected to find a large majority of those who expressed opinions on city matters to be better informed. What I did expect was to hear from those who were not happy, and I did.Q. What advice would you give to Bruce Christensen, your successor as mayor, and Kris Chadwick, your replacement as a council member?A. I don’t believe that Bruce or Kris need advice from me. They are very capable. However, if I were to give advice it would simply be to do the right thing in the end for the betterment of the people of Glenwood, regardless of the political pressure voiced by the minority.Q. What are your hopes for Glenwood Springs in the years ahead?A. I would hope that Glenwood Springs would embrace small-town character and pursue tourism and recreation opportunities. Those goals are supportive of each other and can provide the quality of life sought after by the majority of us that choose to make our home here.Q. How do you feel about the state of the city as you leave council service?A. I feel that the city is on solid footing in terms of finance, policy and staffing.Q. What do you plan to do during those twice-a-month Thursday nights that you used to spend in council meetings? Will you be attending many of them as a member of the public or watching many of them on TV?A. I’m attempting to go cold turkey on the meetings. Of course I was not successful in November. There is no need for me to make plans for my Thursdays as my wife and daughter have them booked for me. I may catch the occasional meeting on TV.Q. Did your golf handicap grow during your time in office?A. The only confirmed growth during my four years on council would be to my midsection. I plan to get back to the health club and golf course more frequently to reduce the handicap and midsection.Q. Is there anything else you’d like to say as you make your return to private life?A. It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve.
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