Eagle elections get record turnout | VailDaily.com

Eagle elections get record turnout

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyDixie Kozinski fills out her ballot for the Eagle Town Council elections Monday at Eagle Town Hall.

EAGLE, Colorado ” Downtown Eagle got some additional rush-hour traffic Tuesday evening as the town elections were in full swing.

Mayoral and town trustee candidates stood on the street corners and roundabouts waving campaign signs as voters crowded into the Eagle Town Hall to cast their ballots.

More than 750 residents who turned out Tuesday to choose a new mayor and three town board members.

The voter turnout was more than five times the turnout of last election, which drew 159 votes, said election judge Nancy Powell.

This year, the face-off between current town trustee Ed Woodland and County Commissioner Arn Menconi drew more attention, some residents said.

“This year’s a little different,” said longtime resident Thomas Mahoney. “You’ve got Arn running, and he’s the controversial one.”

The election winners will earn four-year terms, and the elected town trustees will join incumbents Stephen Richards, Mikel Kerst, and Scot Hunn on the board.

The town’s rapid growth and discussion of new developments has made more residents pay attention to local politics, said voter Susan Narduzzi, proudly wearing a sticker that read, “I voted.”

“Because of the development question and revenue needs, a lot of people have come out,” she said.

She voted for Woodland because she likes that he is open to ideas, she said.

“He doesn’t have his mind already made up, and he really seems to have the interests of the community at heart,” she said.

How the candidates would handle growth played a big part in Mahoney’s voting choices, he said.

“It’s all changing,” he said of Eagle. “You’ve got to stop somewhere, or at least slow it down.”

Besides the mayoral race, eight candidates were running for the three open town board seats.

All the candidates on the ballot were very qualified and many are longtime residents, said voter Jackson Lounsberry.

“I’m confident in the whole group of them,” he said.

He said he voted for Woodland because “he has experience both living here and doing business here.”

“It’s important that Eagle is its own town and not forced into providing deed-restricted housing for the valley. Let the market be open,” he said.

Resident Angelo Davis said he was also impressed by the candidate pool this year. He also voted for Woodland for mayor.

“We disagree with some of Menconi’s decisions,” he said. ” We didn’t like him as commissioner, so we don’t want him as mayor.”

For voter Kelly Place, solving traffic problems and the idea of closing roads in the Bluffs neighborhood to motorized traffic were the most important issues.

“I voted for Arn Menconi mostly because he supports the road closures. He seems real receptive and educated about the rules and laws behind it, and he knows how it affects the Bluffs community,” she said.

Down the street, Lights on Broadway owner Joe Frasco displayed signs for Woodland and Kostick outside the shop. He usually does not help campaign, but both candidates are friends and he agrees with their views, he said.

More residents are coming out to vote because everyone sees that the town has experienced “above average growth,” he said.

“Longtime locals are concerned. They want the town to go in a healthy direction. Healthy growth is the community changing people, not people changing communities,” he said.

Woodland did some last-minute campaigning during the evening, waving a sign along with town trustee candidate Kraige Kinney on the corner of Capitol Street and Highway 6.

“I’ve knocked on almost every door in Eagle, and held about 20 open houses at the homes of friends and neighbors,” Woodland said.

The mayoral race and strong trustee pool really drew the crowds, both candidates agreed.

“I’m pleasantly surprised by the size of the turnout. People seem to really be engaged in the issues this year,” Woodland said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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