Hayden honors Russ Martin at event | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden honors Russ Martin at event

Town Manager’s last day is Friday

Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin stands with his wife, Ann, after the Hayden Town Council presented him with a plaque commemorating his more than six years with the town Friday evening during a going away reception at Hayden Town Hall.
Jack Weinstein

— For years, Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin wanted a wall clock.

During a going away reception for Martin and his family Friday evening at Hayden Town Hall, Mayor Lorraine Johnson explained that beneath everything on the town manager’s desk was a clock. The only problem was he couldn’t see it.

He finally got it.

The clock, which was mounted on a plague commemorating Martin’s more than six years with Hayden was inscribed with the sentence, “For the countless hours of dedicated service to the town of Hayden, Colorado.”

About 50 Hayden residents, friends and family attended the cake and punch reception for Martin, who became town manager in March 2004. Martin has accepted the town manager position with Camp Verde, Ariz. His last day is Friday.

Town Council members said Martin was exactly who Hayden was looking for when the town hired him.

“He came in with the right skill set and got us on track,” said council member Tom Rogalski, citing the creation and adoption of a new town comprehensive plan and a land-use code revision.

During his tenure, Martin also helped leverage $4 million in grant funding that contributed to town projects, such as repaving Poplar Street and upgrading Dry Creek Park. He also oversaw the construction of a new police station and Hayden’s transition to a home rule municipality.

Council member Festus Hag­ins said that without Martin, he thought the town still would be struggling. But Hagins said he knew this day would come.

“I hate to say it. It’s a cliché, but he’s a rising star as a manager,” he said.

Council member Tim Red­mond said one of Martin’s greatest attributes was that he integrated into the community, unlike Hayden’s two previous full-time town managers. Redmond said Martin was the guy in the dunk tank during Hayden Daze, could be found at the Routt County Fair and attended school-related functions.

“From that respect, the community fit his needs and he certainly fit our needs,” Redmond said. “I definitely feel we were lucky.”

Council member Chuck Grobe, who was mayor when Martin was hired, said he changed the way the town does business. Grobe said it’s going to be interesting to see what type of person Hayden gets to replace Martin because that person will have tough shoes to fill.

Johnson said Hayden posted the position of town manager on the Colorado Municipal League’s website and already has received four applications, which she hopes to start reviewing Monday. She said the council members hope to have a new town manager in place by Nov. 1.

While Friday’s reception presented a range of emotions for many, not everyone was sad the Martins are leaving Hayden. Martin’s daughter, 5-year-old McKenna, said she’s ready to go.

“I really wanted to move to Arizona because I wanted to see my cousins,” she said about the family the Martins have in Phoenix.

Martin and his wife, Ann, also have a son, 7-year-old Michael.

Martin said he was pleased with the reception, which gave him the opportunity to see some of the people who welcomed his family to Hayden and made them part of the town’s family.

“Both my kids, this is all they know,” Martin said. “In your whole life, you only have so many of those. The town gave us our start. No matter where you end up, you always look back to where you started. That’s why Hayden has been a special place for our family.”

Hayden resident Brian Bray was one of the residents who stopped by to say goodbye and wish Martin good luck.

“I hope the next town is as lucky as we were,” he said. “I hate to see him go. He’s been good.”

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