Longtime Silverthorne resident sworn in as town councilman Wednesday
The Silverthorne Town Council welcomed Kevin McDonald as a new member during last night’s meeting.
McDonald is taking over the remainder of Councilwoman Peggy Long’s term. Long announced her retirement during the council meeting on Feb. 16, after her family moved outside of the town limits, making her ineligible to finish her term. Long served on the council from 2000-10 before rejoining again in 2014. She also served on the planning commission.
“I think we are very fortunate to have Kevin joining the council right now, as he is familiar with many of the projects we are working on. During his previous time on council many of the foundational efforts that led to these current projects were established,” said Ryan Hyland, the Silverthorne town manager, in an email to the Daily.
The Silverthorne Town Council interviewed four different community members for the position. The remaining members unanimously voted to appoint McDonald on March 22. Elections will be held in April 2018. McDonald can then run for a full term.
McDonald previously served on the town council from 2006-10. His term overlapped for two years with now-mayor Bruce Butler, when the latter first sat on the council.
“Kevin always brought a good, level headed even balance to things. He’s solidly analytical,” Butler said.
Butler added that in addition to previously being on the town council, McDonald is well known in the county for his work as a board trustee with The Summit Foundation and as a founding member of the Economic Development Advisory Committee. McDonald joined The Summit Foundation board in 2009 and served as the president from 2013-15.
McDonald came to Summit County in the early ’90s to be the president of the Silverthorne FirstBank. He retired in 2005, and opened New Path Capital Advisors, where he’s the chief compliance officer.
McDonald said that in both his professional life, as well as his previous term on council, housing has been an important issue for him.
Both he and Butler were on council when Smith Ranch was first purchased, but due to the economic downturn the town was unable to take further steps to begin a housing development there. In mid-March, the town sent out a request for proposals to start the infrastructure design process for a housing development on the 52-acre plot housing Smith Ranch.
“The voters have spoken, there’s a war chest of money being accumulated to help solve the affordable housing issue, so we’ve got to do that well,” McDonald said. “This is our one big chance for the foreseeable future. We’ve gotta be pretty smart about it and put something out there that’s effectively going to address that situation, but also looks good and works well and is something the community can be proud of.”
In addition to the Smith Ranch project, the town recently selected Milender White as the developer for the redevelopment of Fourth Street Crossing. The town is also finishing up construction on the Performing Arts Center. With so many large projects coming down the pipeline, Butler said it was a benefit to bring in a council member that could transition quickly.
“Just having been in the council before, you kind of understand the need to play in the sandbox well with other people and be fair when applications come before you, … a lot of those little things that sometimes take a little more time for people to learn. That’s not something that we have to start fresh with,” Butler said. “We’re excited to have him back. He was a great contributor the first time he was on the council. I have every expectation that he’ll be an immediate and very solid contributor for the remainder of this term that he’s filling.”
McDonald sat in on the council’s Tuesday evening work session before being sworn in at the meeting last night. He said jumping back into council was like riding a bike.
“It’s the same as it was before, every session and every council meeting is a little bit different. No surprises there,” he said. “Everybody’s got their own skills and strong points and if you can put those together into a good collaborative group then that’s what the goal is.”
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