Hayden voters must choose new trustees | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden voters must choose new trustees

— Four candidates are running for three open town trustee seats in Hayden’s municipal election Tuesday.

Lorraine Johnson, Dianne Kochenower, Richard “Festus” Hagins and incumbent Ken Gibbon shared their platforms and answered questions at a sparsely attended candidates forum recently held in Hayden.

A fifth candidate, Chuck Grobe, is running unopposed for mayor. He was on hand for the forum and briefly stated his mayoral objectives.

Chuck Grobe
Chuck Grobe was appointed to the Town Board in November 1999 when Trustee Dave DeWitt resigned.

Prior to serving on the board, he served on the Hayden Planning Commission for 20 years, as well as the local School Board and Fire Board. Grobe said he plans to bring that background and experience to the mayor’s position.

While serving as Hayden’s mayor, Grobe said that he will concentrate on the economic development of downtown Hayden.

Ken Gibbon (incumbent)
Ken Gibbon has served on the Town Board for six years. He also was a member of the Routt County Planning Commission for three years and has served with various other boards and volunteer groups.

In his tenure as town trustee, Gibbon has played a role in the construction of a new town hall, approval of new residential developments and street paving projects, as well as the recent highway lowering project and airport annexation.

Gibbon is seeking re-election because he wants the opportunity to continue his work on the town’s master plan and recreation program, help get a new public works shop built, and see Sagewood through litigation.

Gibbon is in favor of a proposed new recreation facility and asked that community members become more involved in sharing their ideas and concerns with the recreation district committee.

“I’m supportive of it,” he said. “I think we need more input from the community to iron out the nuts and bolts of it, but it has good merit and, in addition, the property purchase has good value.”

Lorraine Johnson
Lorraine Johnson has been a resident of Hayden for 24 years. She is currently in the process of purchasing Mt. Harris Liquors and Rainbow Sporting Goods.

Because of her business experience, Johnson feels she can bring insight to the board on the needs of the business owners of the community. With a knowledge of the construction industry and past projects, including the town survey in the mid-1990s and downtown improvement projects, Johnson said she would be an asset to the board.

Johnson is not in favor of increasing Hayden residents’ tax burden to construct a new recreation facility.

“I have insights into the youth of the community; what they don’t have and what they need,” she said. “Craig built its recreational program off of sales tax. I think Hayden is taxed out. There may be a better way to get it built than a recreation district.”

Dianne Kochenower
Dianne Kochenower is waging a “campaign of compassion” in running for the Hayden Town Board. After living in the community for 16 years, she said she’s ready to see the progression of key issues.

Kochenower is interested in continuing the expansion of affordable housing in Hayden and the surrounding areas.

“Affordable housing could be increased,” she said. “Growth is inevitable; change is here and here to stay. Another subdivision should be built to house all the new families that hunger to live here.”

Kochenower addressed the issue of revitalizing the downtown business area by first cleaning up old, abandon buildings and then promoting new businesses.

In terms of recreation, she is concerned with funding a large rec center.

“I don’t know if Hayden can prosper from it,” she said. “Maybe in five years, but I’m not sure. I think there are still some glitches with the plan that need to be worked out.”

Richard “Festus” Hagins
Richard “Festus” Hagins served as a Town Board trustee from 1992 to 1994 and as mayor from 1996 to 1998.

Because of his experience with and working knowledge of town government, he believes he is a qualified candidate to sit on the Town Board again.

“I think the town needs leadership,” he said. “I have the experience and the commitment to help with that.”

Hagins is in favor of the recreation facility proposal.

“It’s a good idea,” he said. “I’m not sure that we need a pool, but I think the idea of future recreation growth is a good one. I’d like it if the rec district committee would send out an informational packet to the town so that people understand what’s going on with this.”

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