Rippy’s ‘common sense’ will be missed
NEW CASTLE – “Common sense” was the term used to describe Steve Rippy throughout the evening at a party Thursday night to honor his retirement as town administrator of New Castle.Rippy officially retired on Tuesday, Feb. 28, after nearly five years as administrator. However, his involvement with the town of New Castle goes back a lot further.Born and raised in New Castle, Rippy began serving on the town board in 1986. After two terms, he was elected mayor in 1994. He left his job as Garfield County Assessor in 2001 to take the New Castle town administrator position.About 60 people turned out at the New Castle Community Center to wish Rippy well.”Steve Rippy has had a love affair with the town of New Castle for a number of years,” said Bob Gordon, a town council member who has worked with Rippy for the past eight years. “He has been faithful to his beloved New Castle from a town council member to mayor to administrator. Just look at where this town has come under the leadership of Steve Rippy.”Rippy has been instrumental in a number of town projects, including the downtown streetscape design, parks and trail improvements, upgrades to the water and wastewater treatment plants, development of the Castle Valley Ranch and Burning Mountain subdivisions and, well, practically every change the town has gone through in recent years.Rippy made a brief speech that expressed his commitment to New Castle.”I did fall in love with this town,” he admitted. “I poured my soul into this community and that was not a difficult thing to do. I realized this is the spot where I want to be – this is where I wanted to raise my kids.”He commended his staff and the town council for their excellent work.”New Castle has been blessed. We’ve had some really tremendous council members,” he said. “And we have an excellent staff who really take ownership in the town and care about it.”But his voice broke when thanking the people who have supported him the most – his family. Rippy has two grown sons, Steven and Casey, and a wife, Becky”I want to point out what a great family I have,” he said, stopping for an emotional moment. “I had 67 night meetings last year. I was gone so often. But my kids turned out so great. My wife was always so supportive. I just can’t thank you enough.”Town Clerk Lisa Cain has worked with Rippy since 1996 – first as mayor and then as administrator.”I’ll miss his sense of humor,” Cain said. “It was a pleasure working with him and his common-sense approach to solving problems.”Eric Williams, developer of the Castle Valley Ranch subdivision, has known Rippy all of his life.”He’s got a very common-sense approach,” Williams said. “But I don’t think he’s going away too far.”Tom Silverman, a local attorney from Glenwood Springs has served as New Castle’s town attorney and now as the town prosecutor.”New Castle couldn’t have had a finer representative than Steve Rippy with his energy, common sense, people skills, intelligence and commitment to this town,” Silverman said. “There’s no way to replace him. He’s a fabulous man.”Rippy’s parents, Janet and Harley Rippy, are proud of their son’s accomplishments in the town where they raised him as one of seven children.”We’re very proud of him,” Janet Rippy said. “He never liked the construction industry much, unlike his father and brothers.”Gordon, who is also stepping down from the town council in April, said that because of Rippy’s work, the town will still be in good hands.”His insight into things was amazing,” Gordon said. “But we’re going to be okay. We’ve got a great staff and it’s going to be good because of what Steve has set up.”Although officially retired, Rippy will continue working with the town on a part-time contract basis, assisting the new town administrator and overseeing the public works operations until a new operator is hired sometime in August.
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