Dillon town manager Tom Breslin set to retire
Dillon town manager Tom Breslin has officially announced his retirement, finishing his career with more than two years of service to the town.
He will be taking a hiatus for the month of April while he and his wife move to South Carolina but will then return until August to assist the town with on-boarding his successor.
Originally from Brooklyn, Breslin first came to Colorado when he was stationed at Fort Carson near Colorado Springs as a sergeant in the U.S. Army. After his discharge, he worked for 20 years as a New York City firefighter, attending Rutgers University and New York Law School along the way.
But Colorado made a lasting impression on Breslin, and he and his family moved to Breckenridge in 1997. Since then, he has served as public works director for Vail Resorts at Keystone Resort and county administrator for Clear Creek County.
Breslin was hired by Dillon in the summer of 2014 with a mandate to stir up economic growth in the town, which has been working to encourage redevelopment in its downtown core area for several years.
In Breslin’s estimation, Dillon has made progress since a recession-era downturn and is well on its way to becoming a bigger player in Summit County.
“Redevelopment in the core area is difficult, but now that we’ve really come out of the recession of 2008 we’ve laid the groundwork for some really good things,” he said.
That has included replatting town lots for potential sale, reimagining Dillon’s sleepy Main Street and adjusting zoning restrictions to make the town’s core area more attractive to developers.
Breslin is optimistic that through these efforts, the town has set the table for some major investment, citing the strong population growth in Colorado and Dillon’s attractiveness as an accessible mountain destination for the booming Front Range.
A prime example of that, he said, was the recent decision by outdoor retailer REI to open a store in Dillon’s former Sports Authority location, a move the town encouraged through tax incentives.
One of the biggest efforts under Breslin’s watch, however, has been the impending facelift of what is perhaps the town’s single biggest asset, the Dillon Amphitheatre.
Last year, the town council approved plans to completely rebuild the venue, which sits on an idyllic spot on the shores of Lake Dillon and has been targeted as a magnet for economic activity.
“The amphitheater project is something we put a lot of effort into over the years,” Breslin said. “So that’s a good thing because it’s one of the centerpieces of the community, really.”
Construction on that project is slated to start this summer and will include building a new, larger amphitheater with a more modern design and adding restrooms, backstage facilities and bathrooms, among other improvements.
Shepherding that project to fruition required a lot of patience, Breslin said, which was perhaps one of the biggest lessons he learned managing a small town after his tenure in Clear Creek, a much larger community where he oversaw a $30 million budget.
“I learned that you have to be patient and that it’s a really good idea to be transparent with the community,” he said. “So what we always try to do is be transparent, and that way the community has the opportunity to be involved in the decision-making process. They might not always like what’s decided, but it’s important to have them involved.”
During his time in Dillon, Breslin became known among the town council and staff for his affable, but no-nonsense approach to management.
“Tom has been a great leader providing strong support for council and staff,” Mayor Kevin Burns said in a news release. “He has been instrumental in moving along several projects associated with economic development which was a priority when we hired him. Tom is well known and loved across a broad spectrum of the community. His easygoing manner and straight-shooting communication style will be missed.”
Breslin said that while he’s enjoyed his time in Colorado, he’s looking forward to the warm and sunny climate of South Carolina — and of course, more time for golf.
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