Name: Mark Gruber
Relevant leadership or community experience:
Two years as Chairman of The Erie Planning Commission, four years as an Erie Planning Commissioner. Three years as President of The Vista Pointe HOA Board of Directors, four years as a VPHOA Board director.
What are the three top issues for Erie in the coming years? What will be your plan for fixing/solving/dealing with those issues?
A. Establish adequate retail in Erie to generate the sales tax base we need to support our growing public service needs; and support the infusion of primary employment. A career business leader, I know what it takes for business to succeed, so I will influence my colleagues to provide the incentives that business needs to locate here. Our new waste water treatment plant is the key to the I-25 corridor becoming our primary regional employment center. Continued investment in the Erie Airport’s infrastructure will allow that location to become our local primary employment center.
B. We need to keep up the quality planning that I have been involved with on The Planning Commission that maintains our small-town character, and historic topography, but limits urban growth.
C. Improve public services; enhance snow removal, provide clean & safe streets. We need to keep Erie a place people want to move to. Prospective home buyers should not see trashed arterial roadways when choosing Erie for their new homes.
What does future successful economic development look like in Erie? What is the board’s role in making that happen?
Erie should become the regional commercial center for the surrounding communities. This will occur if we can coordinate and leverage the resources of The Chamber of Commerce, The Erie Economic Development Council, The Old Town Business District working group, The Erie Airport Economic Development Council, and The Board of Trustees as partners in the effort to promote and draw business to Erie. We all need to get on the same page, with the Board of Trustees in the lead.
What role should the town take in supporting and attracting business downtown? Do you believe the board should do more to support the business of Old Town area? If so, what?
Town government should make every effort to pave the way for the developers of the approved but yet to be built Morgan Hill and Bridgewater developments moving toward construction of the homes that will provide the local customers that Old Town businesses need to thrive. In addition, the town should continue to provide sponsorship for NGO run Old Town events that draw people into Old Town such as Biscuit Day.
What actions —if any—should the board take to make the town a stronger regional player?
Erie community leaders need to be involved promoting our merits with the NGO’s outside of our borders. The Town government along with its NGO arm The EEDC should maintain membership in the Colorado Chamber of Commerce, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, and like minded business development groups.
Further, we need to market the Town’s public events regionally, as well as promoting our new recreational facilities both regionally and nationally for regional and national sporting competitions.
As far as the airport is concerned, what is your stance how the board has handled the recent situation? What are future steps the board should take?
There are several great businesses that rely on the Airport for the jobs and revenue they generate. If elected, I want to help them thrive.
As far as the airport is concerned, there has been far too much rancor over it. Members of the Board of Trustees are volunteers; I am not going to criticize anyone who volunteers their valuable time and effort to help govern, plan, and grow Erie.
I too am one of Erie’s few volunteer community leaders. But, as an Erie Planning Commissioner, I have stated repeatedly that the biggest threat to the Airport is high density residential development adjacent to the Airport. I oppose it in order to ensure the viability of the Erie Airport.
What is Erie’s biggest transportation need in the coming years?
Rapid commuter transit to Denver, Boulder, and the 36 business corridor will become essential as the Front Range population continues to grow. Erie is perfectly situated geographically to be in the right place when that future infrastructure becomes centered in our back yard.
Give me your philosophy on growth in Erie? In your vision, what does future growth look like and how is it managed?
In 2005 The Town implemented a new Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Code. For the past four years as an Erie Planning Commissioner, these documents have been the framework for my guiding principals of development.
First, I want to maintain our small-town character and historic topography, and control residential dwelling unit density.
Second, I want to maximize the dedication of open spaces for the enjoyment of all.
Third, we need to focus special planning attention on our Town Gateways, as these arterials and the development that will take place there will be the first views of Erie’s qualities to prospective home buyers, and businesses.
Fourth, we need to utilize density gradation, whereby higher residential densities appear at the center of new developments, with lower residential density appearing around the perimeter.
Fifth, Erie Airport needs to be protected from high density residential housing on adjacent properties.
Finally, we need to continue to strive for neighborhood connectivity via trail, bike lanes, new roadways and pedestrian useable open spaces.
What action—if any—would you like to see the town take on waste collection or recycling?
Promote recycling, but let the free market rule competition and contracting for services. This is the prevue of individual homeowners and/or HOA management. If citizens of The Town feel compelled to recycle, recycling will flourish without governmental interference.
What’s your stance on the Bonanza Drive connection?
A connection of Bonanza to Vista Parkway will have little impact on the 18,000 residents who do not live on Bonanza, unless a big box retailer locates at the corner of Bonanza and Highway 7. If we are fortunate enough to land a substantial retailer or two at that corner, the sales tax revenue generated for the Town should be substantial, and the convenience of local shopping for many of our residents shall be achieved.
Once you are elected, how will you stay in tune with the ideas, issues, concerns and questions of your constituents?
Ever since graduating five years ago from Erie Citizen’s Police Academy, I have been active in community events. Whether it was serving beer at The Town Fair, making the gravy for Biscuit Day, leading the racers around the course of the Eerie Erie 10K race, or judging the floats at the Erie High School homecoming parade; these events present crucial constituent listening posts, and are a great place to spread the word about The Town’s initiatives and direction. I intend to continue my involvement in these community activities.
Along the same vein, an ongoing regular liaison with the Towns NGO’s will keep the dialogue open. A regularly scheduled quarterly meeting between the BOT and all the members of all the HOA Boards of Directors, for information gathering and dissemination should be implemented.
And it goes without saying that in today’s fast paced information age; you have be tuned in via Blogs, Twitter, or Facebook.