Gypsum voters face Town Council, charter amendment and Sweetwater Lake donation election Tuesday | VailDaily.com
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Gypsum voters face Town Council, charter amendment and Sweetwater Lake donation election Tuesday

GYPSUM — Gypsum voters already have their ballots in hand and the community’s delayed 2020 municipal election will be held Tuesday, July 7.

Voters will elect three Town Council members to four-year terms and decide on a number of amendments to the Gypsum Town Charter. Additionally, voters will be asked if they support an $80,000 town donation to the Sweetwater Lake preservation campaign.

Following are survey responses offered by the six candidates who are running for the three open Gypsum Town Council seats.

Kathleen Brendza

Kathleen Brendza

Profession: Professional consultant/former educator

Why are you running for the Gypsum Town Council? I’ve had the privilege of living, raising my son and working in Gypsum for 21 years and I’ve enjoyed all of the benefits this community offers: the schools, the recreation, the library and the incredible people. I’ve seen significant changes over the years; some that have been a benefit to residents and some which have raised new challenges.

What is the biggest issue facing Gypsum? One big issue Gypsum faces is the growth of the community and the town’s subsequent ability to respond to its citizen’s needs.

 What does Gypsum need to do in response to the COVID-19 impacts in town? During this very strange and trying time, I have been very proud of my fellow Gypsum residents. I believe if we continue to follow the guidelines the state has recommended (social distancing, face masks and washing hands) we will be doing our part to keep families and neighbors safe.

Do you support the Sweetwater Lake ballot question that is on the ballot this spring? Why or why not? It’s a great initiative that could benefit Gypsum, however Gypsum citizens are still waiting for the purposed town center and other improvements to more immediately serve the community.

What amenities are most needed in the community and how can Gypsum help make projects happen? I believe the Town Council and leadership need to create a robust town center that provides opportunities for businesses that appeal to residents and visitors. When you can bring a community together around the same economic and social vision great things happen.

Cicero Da Silva

Cicero Da Silva

Profession: Husband, father, community member, entrepreneur/tire surgeon as founder & owner of Down Valley Tires & Wheels

Why are you running for the Gypsum Town Council? I love living in Gypsum, this is my home. My lovely wife and I raised our family here. I have been blessed with the ability to contribute to and support individuals, families and businesses within via philanthropic pursuits and my tire shop. Because of strong faith and upbringing I believe in being of service to the community I live in. At Down Valley Tires & Wheels I am in direct contact with the citizens of Gypsum who are the heart of our community. The daily conversations I have with community members provide me with a well-rounded perspective of the people who choose to live here.

What is the biggest issue facing Gypsum? We are growing and we need to do it wisely with affordable, high-density housing.

What does Gypsum need to do in response to the COVID-19 impacts in town?I believe that we all need to be aware of and actively engaged in our overall health; be respectful of each other’s beliefs and follow the overall guidelines that we are receiving from authority. 

Do you support the Sweetwater Lake ballot question that is on the ballot this spring? Why or why not? If the public can use 100% of it, without restrictions I am supportive of it.

What amenities are most needed in the community and how can Gypsum help make projects happen? A community park that includes all services in one place, as well as bike paths within the town boundaries, and additional services for the elderly. Bureaucracy that is easier to navigate for small businesses and individuals.

Additional Comments: I believe Gypsum is a beautiful growing town, made up of beautiful and diverse people who work very hard. As we continue to grow, I want to be of service to my fellow community members.

Tom Edwards

Tom Edwards

Profession: Retired architect

Why are you running for the Gypsum Town Council? To help make Gypsum the best place it can be. I wish to maintain Gypsum’s role as the friendly, recreation-oriented, family community where people live, work and connect with their surroundings.

What is the biggest issue facing Gypsum? Growing our businesses and business opportunities to make this a complete community while maintaining the surroundings and environment that make Gypsum a desirable place to live.

What does Gypsum need to do in response to the COVID-19 impacts in town? Follow county guidelines which, since being instituted, have brought us through early infections to being one of the safest places in the country. Ensure that residents are housed, fed and their health maintained. Bring businesses back as safely and quickly as possible, following established guidelines to prevent further economic hardship.

Do you support the Sweetwater Lake ballot question that is on the ballot this spring? Why or why not? Sweetwater is our backyard playground. We need to make sure it remains accessible. I voted to give some funds to this project and also put this on the ballot so Gypsum residents could have a say if more is to be contributed. 

What amenities are most needed in the community and how can Gypsum help make projects happen? Restaurants, businesses and a pavilion facility that create community gathering places and increase Gypsum’s sense of place. Our master plan, which has citizen input, outlines and makes easier the steps for businesses to succeed.

Additional comments:  The groundwork is in place. Your vote for me helps continue the path we have started.           

Chris Huffman

Chris Huffman

Profession: Owner of Sagebrush Services Inc.

Why are you running for the Gypsum Town Council? I have enjoyed being an active participant on the Town Council and with town activities. This is the best way to give back to my community.

What is the biggest issue facing Gypsum? Growth and traffic. With the growth that we are facing, the traffic flow on Cooley Mesa Road and the traffic on Highway 6.

What does Gypsum need to do in response to the COVID-19 impacts in town? I believe that if we can support our residents, with trying to keep the people safe is our biggest responsibility.

Do you support the Sweetwater Lake ballot question that is on the ballot this spring? Why or why not? The Sweetwater Lake is a great amenity for the area, but it is outside of the town limits and the county. Gypsum has contributed a portion, but I do not believe the residents will want to fund $80,000 more. But that is why we put it to a vote.

What amenities are most needed in the community and how can Gypsum help make projects happen?  Gypsum will need a community center that is double the size of what Gypsum has to offer now. Every month I hear people say we need some place to have a banquet, wedding reception or a large fundraiser. How to make this happen? Work towards bringing in more retail businesses, for convenience and community improvement.

Jesse Meryhew

Jesse Meryhew

Profession: SMI Mechanical

Why are you running for the Gypsum Town Council?  Gypsum is where my family calls home, and I feel it is important to be an active part of the community. 

What is the biggest issue facing Gypsum? Growth appears to be the biggest issue. More and more people are moving to Gypsum because it is a great community. As our community continues to grow, we must plan for growth. This means planning for infrastructure upgrades, finding ways to bring in more business and assessing new development ideas to make sure they fit within the town of Gypsum’s long term goals.

What does Gypsum need to do in response to the COVID-19 impacts in town? It is essential that collectively, with the help of the experts (Vail Health and local officials), we continue to find ways to keep people safe and keep the economy going. Right now, there is no one solution, and as the town of Gypsum continues to gather COVID-19 data and facts, tough decisions will need to be made. 

Do you support the Sweetwater Lake ballot question that is on the ballot this spring? Why or why not?  Yes, I am in support of the Sweetwater Lake ballot. The outdoors are what bring people to Vail Valley.  Sweetwater Lake is an excellent area for families to enjoy.  The question is whether or not it fits within the Town of Gypsum budget. Because of COVID-19, most local governments are on a spending freeze. 

What amenities are most needed in the community, and how can Gypsum help make projects happen?  This is a better question for everyone who lives in Gypsum. For example, the recreation center was asked for by several people in the community, and the town of Gypsum made it happen. One person alone doesn’t know what is best for everyone.

Additional comments: Thank you to all of the community members who take the time to make our community a better place which includes the men and women who serve and protect our community, teachers, coaches, town of Gypsum Public Works, own of Gypsum employees and government officials, and all of the people who volunteer to make our community what it is.

Gypsum Town Council Candidate Survey

Marisa Sato

Marisa Sato

Profession: Showroom consultant

Why are you running for Gypsum Town Council? It is important to me that I continue to be a voice for our community, helping make responsible decisions for growth and our long term future. I have lived here for the last 14 years and am raising my family here.

What is the biggest issue facing Gypsum? Continued responsible growth and fiscal stability. 

Do you support the Sweetwater Lake ballot question that is on the ballot this spring? Why or why not? I am not opposed to it, however, this decision is not up to me and it will be made by voters.

What amenities are most needed in the community and how can Gypsum help make projects happen? Camping and lodging for people outside of the community to utilize as they enjoy the great amenities that Gypsum has to offer. The town has been actively working on acquiring campsites and working landowners.


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