As its residential growth spurt peaks in the coming years, Erie is poised to shift Boulder County’s commercial center of gravity east—and this spring’s Board of Trustees election will largely determine the course of that change. YS sat down with each candidate to chat about development, education and a newly proposed police station. Looming over the vote is the dysfunction of last year’s Board, which saw two members resign and an ethics investigation plague the Mayor’s office. Predictably, incumbents insist the turbulence is over, while newcomers nip at their heels, calling for an end to the infighting. Here’s our guide—and endorsements—to the upcoming election.
After spearheading the revitalization of downtown Louisville, Grassi is turning her sights on Erie’s Old Town—she has even been modeling Erie in 3D so that business owners can visualize potential new shops. She defends rebates for developers, pointing out that Collier’s Hill will eventually make the town $90 million, which is worth the $2.8 million investment. “To me that is the definition of growth paying its own way,” Grassi told YS.
YS endorses Grassi for her focus on Old Town revitalization and a smart, realistic vision for commercial development.
For Tina Harris, a former trustee and planning commissioner, her passion for education served as her political impetus starting back in 2004 when there was only one elementary school in Erie at nearly “180-percent capacity.” Her drive garnered two additional schools. Today, she hopes to mend the broken lines of communication in the Board of Trustees and with outside cities by helping them practice compromise; and begin putting Erie’s “needs before its wants” (e.g. building a police station before a skatepark).
Erie Board of Trustees
Nelson’s vision for Erie is that it will run like a streamlined business. “We need to run in the black,” Nelson told YS. “To do that, we need to make data-driven decisions.” With 25 years of executive leadership in the IT world under her belt, her priority is getting information into the hands of residents. With more transparency and online access to information, the voters will hold a vested interest in Erie’s future.
YS endorses Nelson for her efficient, transparent, business-minded approach to future development.
Back in October 2013, Woog filled trustee Paul Oggs’ seat on the board, which has given him a firm grasp of its dynamics. Adding to that “learning curve” is his role on the Erie Economic Development Council. A priority for Woog is to incentivize corporate and commercial businesses to come to Erie as more rooftops are built, especially along the I-25 corridor.
YS endorses Woog for valid sense of economic development, rooted in real estate experience.
“The folks in Erie should be able to shop and eat in Erie,” says Mark Gruber, who’s up reelection this year. A past CFO, Gruber loves a good negotiation, seeing to both parties coming out happy. But as the Board begins to further Erie’s economic development, he wants to see more transparency in the government, which he and others feel has been lacking with Mayor Joe Wilson’s term. As for infrastructure, one major focus will be getting enough water as more houses pop up.
YS endorses Gruber for the ability to both compromise fairly and question Mayoral decision-making.
In addition to being an Erie firefighter for 28 years, Michael Evans originally ran for mayor back in 1980. As a self-proclaimed voice of the people (and Old Town favorite), Evans is trying his hand again to garner more support for new businesses. Besides wanting bigger industries that will create jobs in Erie—like a Sam’s Club—he believes that whenever the Board puts something to a vote, relevant information should be available on Erie’s town webpage.