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Copp looking to next challenge

Twenty years on the job is a heck of a long time these days, particularly for city managers.

Yet Mike Copp, city manager for Glenwood Springs since 1984, has managed to thrive in a position that, in other cities, works like a revolving door.

Perhaps it’s Glenwood Springs. After all, former city manager Al Axtell held the job for 21 years. His service is memorialized by a shady pocket park at 11th and Cooper. (For more on Mr. Axtell, see the Frontier Diary feature on page B5.)



Copp arrived in town after the Oil Shale Bust, which had yet to bottom out. His immediate challenge was to shepherd annexation of the commercial strip of West Glenwood, including the mall, to keep the city government afloat.

His level-headed, persuasive powers succeeded, setting the city up financially for years of growth and reinvestment.



Although sales tax revenues grew, Copp always budgeted low to give City Council mid-year flexibility to spend on new projects. Improvement projects beautified downtown, West Glenwood and residential neighborhoods, and solidified streets and utilities, and careful planning set a vision for the future.

Copp suffered his share of difficulties and failures, but none tarnished him for long. His affable nature and positive attitude coated him with Teflon, and he continues to enjoy the respect of city staff and council members.

Now, Copp says he will step down in April 2004. His plan beyond that is not clear, although he says Glenwood Springs will remain his home.

The timing of his departure is surprising, since Copp seems closer now than ever before to achieving his personal dream of building an 18-hole municipal golf course.

A golf course is far more complex and controversial than a pocket park, but if it comes to pass, his name should be chiseled there in a prominent spot.


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