Wood and Russi excited about new jobs with New Castle Town Council
Two new faces have appeared behind the dais at town council meetings in New Castle. Both have strong opinions about issues that face this growing town.
Karen Wood and Greg Russi were elected in April and will each serve four-year terms. They replace Pam Bunn and Brian Eastman on the council.
Wood, who owns Accents From Head to Toe, a beauty salon in the New Castle Plaza, said she’s doesn’t have a particular agenda for the council, she just likes to get involved.
“My agenda is the town’s agenda,” she said. “I’m a people person. I get involved.”
Wood came to New Castle in 1991 from Phoenix. She opened a salon in downtown New Castle nine years ago and then moved her new shop to the plaza in 1998.
She’s also a member of the Lions Club, which she helped found, and has organized the annual Burning Mountain festival for eight years.
Wood welcomes New Castle’s burgeoning growth.
“I’m a business owner. I don’t have a problem with development. This town is going to grow anyway. We need businesses to keep people here,” she said. “That’s why I have a business here. I want to stay in my town.”
New Castle’s future lies in the hands of everyone in town.
“It’s not just up to the town, but the chamber and all of us to attract businesses to town,” she said.
Nor does she think that businesses downtown have a harder time than the new businesses just off the interstate on the east end of town.
“I had a business downtown and it was successful,” she said. “I just think downtown is going to click one of these days.”
Growth will compound New Castle’s traffic problems, however.
“If we grow any more, we’ll need another entrance into town,” she said.
Russi agrees with Wood that growth is needed but would like it to be controlled so that it does not create urban sprawl with “neon strip malls.”
He ran, he said, “because I saw an opportunity to influence the way in which it will develop … so it won’t develop like Denver.”
Russi moved to New Castle from Denver in 1999 to get away from the city with its noise and pollution and crowds.
“I’m more at home in the mountains,” he said.
He is an attorney and practices workers’ compensation law out of his home office in Castle Valley Ranch.
Russi believes strongly that the town should look 15 years in the future to plan its growth.
“This is a town of 2,000 people with lots of room to grow. It could double in 15 years,” he said. “I want to be able to look back15 years from now and say we’ve utilized every opportunity we had to do it right.”
Russi doesn’t want to be cast in a no-growth or slow-growth mold.
“I’m not here to slow growth, I just want it done appropriately. I want it worked into the historical and natural environment,” he said.
He praised Castle Valley Ranch developer Eric Williams for his vision.
“He loves the land,” Russi said.
But he said he’s noticed that the newer houses look more and more alike.
“We need to get back to the rural nature” of the development, he said.
Again, Russi agrees with Wood that businesses should be encouraged to locate in New Castle, and helped along. He’d like to see a small business incubator in town, a single building where new businesses could share administrative services and office equipment.
“Maybe we should even give them a tax break,” he said. “I have to learn more about that.”
Both Russi and Wood expressed excitement about their new jobs.
“It’s like going to college,” Wood said.
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