Meet the candidates running for New Castle Town Council | PostIndependent.com

Meet the candidates running for New Castle Town Council

Grady Hazelton
Staff Photo |

Residents will have the opportunity this evening to hear from the five candidates running for three seats on the New Castle Town Council at a candidate forum.

The forum will take place at the New Castle Community Center, 423 W. Main St., from 7-8:30 p.m.

All five candidates, three of whom are incumbents, recently took the time to answer some questions posed by the Post Independent. Names appear in alphabetical order.

Grady Hazelton

Age: 49

How long have you lived in New Castle?

I have lived in the New Castle area since I was 3 years old, the majority being on Elk Creek. After a short time living in Rifle, my wife and I bought a house on Midland Avenue where we have lived for the past three years.

What do you do for a living?

My wife, Suzanne, and I own and operate WingNutz Bar and Grill in north Rifle. We opened WingNutz in the summer of 2005, and this past year we celebrated our 10th anniversary of being in business.

Are you involved in any groups or community activities?

We have taken a strong role, as a business, in trying to give back to our community. We often take part in many fundraisers to benefit our community. This year we will be hosting our eighth-annual WingNutz Charity golf tournament at the Rifle Creek Golf Course. We do this to support the Austin Booth memorial scholarship fund, as well as many charities and fundraising events. We received the 2012 Business of the Year from the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce for our efforts in the community.

Why are you running for Council and are there any specific issues you hope to address?

The reason that I am running for New Castle Town Council is first and foremost my love for this town.

I have spent my entire life in this area, and this is where Suzanne and I will be raising our two kids, Sophie, age 7, and Brian, age 4.

I feel that my longevity in this town, as well as my business background, will be a good addition to the council. I have watched New Castle grow from a small bedroom town of 600 to the thriving, self-contained business and residential community that it is today. I feel that many former town employees and town government officials have laid the groundwork for New Castle, and I hope to continue these efforts to ensure that our town continues down that right path.

I look forward to hearing from the New Castle and surrounding area residents regarding their concerns or ideas. I can be reached through our Facebook page “Grady for New Castle Town Council” for those that would like to voice their concerns or lend their support.

Thanks, and I would appreciate your vote on April 5.

Merle Means

Age: I don’t believe that age is relevant. Experience and common sense is what really matters.

How long have you lived in New Castle?

My wife, Leslie, and I have lived in the valley for 20 years and lived in our home in Castle Valley Ranch for 16 years. We chose New Castle to raise our two sons.

What do you do for a living?

I am a retired Denver police officer and a retired minister. I have held many management positions including the manager at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. I am currently the property manager for the Manors I & II Senior Housing in Glenwood.

Are you involved in any groups or community activities?

I have served on many commissions and committees for Town Council. I am a member of the New Castle Lions Club. I have been a hospice chaplain, and I love working with seniors. I volunteer at New Castle Senior Housing.

Why are you running for Council and are there any specific issues you hope to address?

I love New Castle. I will live here the rest of my life! I have seen and helped with a lot of growth and changes in our town. I have been appointed to Town Council twice and (am) now running for re-election.

My vision: responsible growth; attracting new businesses; supporting existing businesses; expanding parks, trails and bike paths; sustainable energy resources and practices; increase family centered activities; enhance the beauty of our town.

Mary Metzger

Age: I am 72 and have been retired since I have lived in New Castle.

How long have you lived in New Castle?

My husband, Larry, and I have lived in this valley for 20 years — 10 in Glenwood Springs and 10 in New Castle. We moved here because of the availability of housing and the beauty and peacefulness of this area.

Are you involved in any groups or community activities?

I have been very involved in the community since I moved here. I was a member of the New Castle comprehensive plan from 2008-10, was a member of the chamber of commerce from 2007-11, headed River Center volunteer (in) New Castle 2010-15, co-chaired volunteer appreciation event 2010-15, co-chaired volunteer gift program 2010 to present.

I was appointed to City Council to fill a vacancy from 2010-12, elected to City Council in 2012-16 and only missed two meetings in six years. I helped coordinate the first Founder’s Day in 2013, and I have served on the historic preservation (commission) and am presently on planning and zoning.

Why are you running for Council and are there any specific issues you hope to address?

As a councilor I instigated a probe of Lakota developer into unethical practices of employee and helped defeat a solar garden envisioned for Castle Valley Ranch in 2014. I have served on the Castle Valley HOA design review committee 2008-16, Garfield County Senior Board 2012-16, member of downtown development committee 2012-16. Currently, I am working with a committee to bring a retirement facility to New Castle. I am a member of New Hope Church and active in CU alumni events on Western Slope.

I am also running because I believe it is important to have a female on the board to bring a different perspective to decision making.

I feel that this is one of the best communities for young families and retirement-aged residents alike. We need a vibrant commercial community to match its residential base. New Castle has great trails and parks, but does not have a lot of room for commercial growth so we need to find developers to build commercial facilities that will offer jobs to our residents. I am working hard to bring retirement housing to our town in the next four years. We have suitable land available that other communities do not. I will continue to emphasize the need to “spiff up” our downtown, especially the west end and the land facing Interstate 70.

Graham Riddile

Age: 27

How long have you lived in New Castle?

Twenty-three years. I moved to New Castle with my family in 1993 from the Denver area and grew up in one of the first homes in Castle Valley. I attended Garfield Re-2 schools in New Castle for all my primary education and graduated from Rifle High School in 2007. In 2011, I graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, with a bachelor’s degree in engineering — civil specialty. Shortly after, I met my wife, Alisha, who I married in 2013. Since then we have settled into New Castle and enjoy being an active part of the community.

What do you do for a living?

Upon graduating in 2011, I was employed with the Colorado Department of Transportation in Glenwood Springs. I was initially placed in their engineering training program and now am a project engineer who has worked on a variety of CDOT projects locally, including the west Parachute interchange, Interstate 70 wildlife fencing, Carbondale roundabout, and, currently, the Grand Avenue bridge project in Glenwood Springs. As a project engineer, I work to accomplish the successful construction of transportation projects on the Colorado highway system. This job has taught me how to work with a variety of people with different backgrounds while managing taxpayer dollars and maintaining public safety and interest. Working for CDOT has also given me a unique opportunity of working for a government agency and learning how to navigate the inner workings of the public sector. If elected, I believe all these skills will be immensely beneficial to the town.

Are you involved in any groups or community activities?

Since I graduated from college in 2011, I have tried to give back as much of my time as possible. I have been, and am currently, involved with many organizations in the New Castle community.

I have served as a commissioner on the town of New Castle Planning and Zoning Commission since 2011.

In 2015, I was appointed to the New Castle River Center’s board of directors, on which I recently assumed the role of vice president.

I am a founding member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s local group New Castle Trails, which has been active since 2015.

In 2015, I managed the artistic bike rack competition that brought themed bike racks to downtown New Castle.

In 2016, I was appointed as a trustee on the First Baptist Church of New Castle’s board of trustees.

Finally, after growing up as a soccer player in the community for over 15 years, I was an assistant and volunteer boys’ and girls’ soccer coach at Coal Ridge High School between 2011 and 2015.

Why are you running for Council and are there any specific issues you hope to address?

I am running for Town Council because I love this community. Everything from the people to the town’s history is something I hold dear, and I cannot think of a better place to call home. To build upon this, if elected, I will work toward three central goals:

First, build on New Castle’s reputation as a desirable and affordable choice for families and individuals in the valley. The economic lifestyle, great schools, emerging downtown and scenic public spaces work together to create a high quality, inclusive community. It is imperative that this is maintained through continued and responsible development.

Second, work to make New Castle a recreational destination. The town’s proximity to public lands make New Castle an obvious choice for bikers, hunters and all other outdoors people. This will require continued coordination with local advocacy groups of all types and dialogue with the Bureau of Land Management and other land managers. If implemented correctly, this will create a boom for the town’s economy and quality of life.

Finally, strive to bring jobs and employers to New Castle to make the town a place we can live, work and play. Many of our residents need to commute outside the community they love to their place of work. The time has come to bring sustainable jobs to New Castle. This will boost the town’s tax base and build upon the strength of our community.

Patrick Stuckey

Age: 62 years of age

How long have you lived in New Castle?

I have lived in Colorado with my wife, Ann, for 38 years. The town of New Castle, in Lakota Canyon Ranch, we have called home for the last 10 years. We lived in Blue Lake, in El Jebel, for 16 years and Snowmass Village for two years. We lived in Denver for 10 years before coming to the Roaring Fork Valley.

What do you do for a living?

I am a registered architect in Colorado and Hawaii, and have done many commercial, multiuse and residential projects throughout Colorado. I have practiced as an architect since 1983 and have had my own business for 25 years as architect, designer and planner. Both my business, as well as Ann’s, are located in New Castle.

Are you involved in any groups or community activities?

Besides having the honor of being a New Castle councilman for the last six years, I am the RFTA board member representing New Castle, the alternate board member for Garfield Clean Energy representing New Castle, and on the design review committee for Lakota Canyon Ranch. The last eight years I have had the opportunity to sit on various committees and commissions for the town of New Castle. These include planning and zoning commission, climate action advisory commission, historic preservation commission and economic advisory committee. I am a member of the American Institute of Architects and was the AIA Colorado West Chapter board member as treasurer for two years.

Why are you running for Council and are there any specific issues you hope to address?

The economic atmosphere has turned around for a number of communities in the area. New Castle has seen some of this through increased sale tax, but not enough to make a difference to our citizens. I want to see New Castle identified as more than a bedroom community. When the opportunities have come our way, I have been supportive of economic development that complement and enhance our existing businesses. I would like to have the town be more active in encouraging new business development to relocate to New Castle. Community retail shops, service trades, recreational activities and the art community could be promoted to increase these areas in conjunction with our many quality restaurants that exist in New Castle. Energy, recreation and tourism play a big part in our community. Promoting these while developing other elements of economic growth need to be accomplished. Diversity is the key to economic health.

A significant impact can be made if opportunities are recognized and taken advantage of. One of my main focal points is supporting local businesses to grow and prosper. By encouraging new business development, we will be creating new jobs for current and future generations to make New Castle a stable, sustainable and enjoyable community where we can live, work and play.

One individual cannot accomplish these goals alone, but I hope to continue to bring my abilities and experience to Council, and work with New Castle citizens, and Town Council, to bring these goals to reality.


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