New and old enter Dillon’s election race
DILLON – Candidates from a range of backgrounds, including a local gym owner and the director of a nonprofit childcare referral service, have joined the race to play a role in the town of Dillon’s future.Five residents will compete for three open town council seats, while two will vie for the mayor seat in the April 2 municipal election.The last day to file petitions to run in the election was Friday, and completed petitions were submitted by current Mayor Barbara Davis and local gym owner Douglas Roessel for the mayor seat, and by incumbents John Younger and Suzanne Hebert for council, as well as by newcomers Allan Hedin, Dr. Don Parsons and Lucinda Burns.Mayoral candidatesRoessel, 40, owns Elevation Fitness in downtown Dillon and briefly served on Dillon’s Economic Development Advisory Committee.If elected, his priority would be to move forward on filling the empty storefronts in the downtown area.One idea to accomplish that challenge would be to form a business league in order to gather input on what the town should be doing from all business owners and residents in the area, Roessel said. “I don’t want to come in and make huge waves, or change what has been going on entirely, but I think that some fresh perspective could really help the town out,” Roessel said.Roessel has lived in Dillon for two-and-a-half years and previously worked as an executive director for a subsidiary of Quizno’s.Mayor Davis is in her first term in the town’s top spot, and previously served on the town council and the planning and zoning commission. Last month, Davis told the Summit Daily News that she was seeking a second term in order to see the materialization of various projects the council has undertaken the past few years, including creating an identity for the town, restructuring incentives in order to attract developers to the town’s quiet downtown core and creating new promotions and events.Town council candidatesThe council election will see some new blood also, as three candidates will join two incumbents in the race.Suzanne Hebert was appointed to fill Lorin Gardner’s town council seat in November 2004. Prior to that, Hebert served on Dillon’s Planning and Zoning Commission for one year and the Snake River Planning Commission for two years.She’s lived in Dillon since 2000, and owns an investment management firm in Golden.”I love Dillon. It’s such a special and unique place and I just feel like it’s important to give back to the community, so I’m anxious to continue on,” Hebert said.The other incumbent is 48-year Dillon resident John Younger, who is running for his second four-year term. Younger also served on the town board in 1950s and 1960s when the town was moving from its old location, which is now the Dillon Reservoir. He’s been retired for nearly 30 years but continues to keep busy working odd jobs.Lucinda Burns, who is the director of Summit County’s Early Childhood Options nonprofit organization, is one newcomer entering the council race.Burns campaigned successfully for the passage of Measure 1A last November – a property tax increase to raise revenue for early childcare and education. She said, however, that Dillon’s economic concerns will be her top priority.”It’s always that balance between new business and invigorating Dillon without so much growth that we don’t recognize our hometown,” Burns said. The two other contenders, Hedin and Parsons, both sit on Dillon’s planning and zoning commission. Parsons is the commission’s chairman.Hedin, 37, believes Dillon needs to focus on ensuring its financial stability in the future, most likely by securing retails shops that can bring in sales tax revenue to the town.”I don’t think we need to expand, I just think we need to make sure Dillon has enough money to stay Dillon,” said Hedin, who’s the property manager for the Lodge at Lake Dillon condominiums.Hedin is also on Dillon’s Economic Development Advisory Committee and served extensively on civic committees during the 12 years he lived in Gunnison, including sitting on the planning commission and the housing authority. He’s lived in Dillon for two years.Parsons’ concerns in Dillon pertain to development, such as how the waterfront and downtown will evolve, as well as the interfaces with Silverthorne and Keystone.Parsons is on the community advisory board for Summit Medical Center, is the chairman of the board for Our Future Summit, serves on the board for the Lake Dillon Foundation for Performing Arts, is the president of the Lake Cliffe Condominiums Homeowners’ Association and is the president elect of the Colorado State Health Association. He helped create SmokeFree Summit, the group that pushed Summit County to ban indoor smoking, resulting in all four towns passing ordinances in 2004 prohibiting smoking in all enclosed public places.Parsons has been a Summit County second homeowner since 1977, and a Dillon resident for 14 months.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13625, or at firstname.lastname@example.orgWho’s running in Dillon?Council: John Younger (incumbent)Suzanne Hebert (incumbent)Lucinda Burns Don ParsonsAllan HedinMayor:Barbara Davis (incumbent)Doug RoesselWhat’s next? A candidate’s forum will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22 at Dillon Town Hall. The election is on April 2.
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