VAIL — Meighen Lovelace has found a home in the High Country. She’s also found she has an appetite for public service.
Lovelace is the director of the Avon Community Garden, and also works for the Colorado Family Leadership Training Institute. She’s an involved mom at her youngest child’s preschool and in the Red Sandstone Elementary School PTA, where her oldest is in kindergarten.
Now, Lovelace wants to take her community service to the Vail Town Council. She was prompted to run when she learned Kevin Foley, a longtime friend, was leaving the council due to town term-limit rules.
“I believe in the work (Foley has) done, and I wanted to step forward and serve,” Lovelace said. “I see Kevin as a powerful community advocate. He’s able to bring together different demographics in a very peaceful way — that’s something to aspire to.”
Lovelace said she believes the current council has done a good job during the past few years.
“It seems like a well-oiled, smooth-running machine,” she said. “It’s a quite impressive group.”
Like other candidates, Lovelace believes the next council needs to pay more attention to housing in town.
“There needs to be a component in (the town’s) agenda that speaks to affordable housing and making it safe,” Lovelace said. “When there isn’t affordable housing available, you lose a valuable part of the community. You can’t be a whole community.”
Parking and transportation will also be topics the next council needs to tackle, Lovelace said. The town’s bus system is relied on by many town residents and employees. That means the town and the county’s ECO Transit system might find ways to work better together. Not doing so can “limit when a worker can come and go.”
Lovelace has had fairly recent experience as one of Vail’s service worker.
She arrived in Vail a decade ago. Her first stop in the High Country was Breckenridge, where she moved from her native Michigan. After a quick stay in California, she returned to Colorado, but decided to try life in Vail.
“I thought, ‘If I’m moving back to the mountains, I’ll move to the most awesome mountain,’” she said.
Like so many other new residents, Lovelace started off in town working in bars and restaurants.
“Working in the service industry, you learn there are so many kinds of tourists,” she said. Those people range from high rollers from other countries to skiers or boarders up for the day from the Front Range.
“Getting to know the people has been great,” Lovelace said. “People come back year after year — you get to know the families, you get to see the kids grow up.”
Through those years, Vail continues to evolve. Town officials are working now on a town regulation that would ban at least plastic grocery bags. Lovelace said she’s in favor of that new ordinance.
“Most international tourists don’t get plastic (grocery) bags, so it wouldn’t be discouraging visitors,” she said. “And myself and most of the people I know already don’t use (plastic bags).”
Perhaps the biggest issue on the town council’s plate right now is the controversy surrounding rebuilding the clubhouse at the golf course. Neighbors opposed to the plan have sued the town, and the issue is still working its way through the court system. Lovelace said she believes its time to more forward with the plan.
“The intent is more commerce,” she said. “While sometimes change is difficult, when you can see the benefits, you can see why the choices were made.”
Despite the current controversy at the golf course, Lovelace believes the town has a bright future, and she wants to be part of it.
“I believe in being an active citizen,” she said. “I believe in giving back.
“My children are very blessed to grow up here,” she added. “I’m blessed to be able to gift them the chance to grow up in this place.”