Long-time administrator Tom Baker leaves New Castle ‘in good hands’ | PostIndependent.com

Long-time administrator Tom Baker leaves New Castle ‘in good hands’

Earlier this year, longtime New Castle town administrator Tom Baker announced his retirement. July 6 marks his last day on the job.

A resident of Garfield County and the Roaring Fork Valley for over 35 years, Baker has been working with various municipal governments since 1978. He's seen many projects completed, including trails and street construction projects from Aspen to western Garfield County.

As town administrator for New Castle for the past six years, Baker said is proud to have watched and voiced his opinions as Glenwood Springs' new Grand Avenue Bridge and pedestrian bridge moved forward, and were completed to the benefit of residents throughout Garfield County.

He emphasized how great his team has been over the years and said no project could be completed alone.

Prior to his time in the chief administrator's job at New Castle, Baker worked as town manager in Basalt and then Carbondale from the late 1990s until 2011. Prior to that, he worked for as a planner, assistant city manager and housing director in Aspen and Pitkin County.

"I've had the good fortune of working with great mayors and city councils," he said. "The entire community has been so welcoming and willing to participate in government."

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As New Castle has moved to see more trails in and around town, Baker's work has been instrumental in opening new trails and parks for residents.

"Tom was never too busy to have a face-to-face meeting to talk trails," New Castle Trails organizer Adam Cornely said. "He wasn't a big mountain biker or trail user, but he saw the benefits. He always took time to listen, go out on the trails to look at proposed projects and meet with community members wanting to voice their opinions on various projects."

"Aside from his never-ending support, Tom inspired me personally to never give up on a project and how to think big picture," Cornely continued. "Tom was an amazing asset to the town of New Castle and New Castle Trails. We owe him a huge thank-you for his time serving our community."

Baker will now watch as citizen, as projects like the LoVa Trail, intended to connect Glenwood Springs to New Castle and beyond, moves forward toward construction.

"It feels awkward to get this kind of attention because everything that gets done is a team effort," Baker said. "To get honored for my service is great."

"It's always a gift to find a good job where you work with community members," he explained. "Jobs like this don't come open too often, so I thought I'd give it a shot, and it worked out very well."

Over the past several months, Baker has been working with New Castle building inspector David Reynolds, who will replace him as town administrator in July.

"I think the transition has been good for staff," he said. "I'm leaving [the town] in good hands."