Mayne: Dedicated to creating a better community
Lots of people say they’d pay the cost to do what’s right. For Dick Mayne and his family, the cost was $9 million.
Mayne is running for Eagle County commissioner. Several years ago he had all his approvals to build an affordable housing project on his family ranch in Gypsum — 450 densely packed units.
He said he could see the need for affordable housing in the future. However, he and his wife decided it wasn’t right for their community or their family, so they walked away from it. They opted instead to create several five-acre sites where families could have a little room to grow.
“The money was not as important to me as doing something I was proud of, and to make a nice community for people to live in,” Mayne said. “I could have made $9 million from it, but the money wasn’t as important as the end product.”
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Mayne said creating a better community has been a big part of his adult life.
He has been involved in Gypsum’s government for 25 years, on the planning commission and town council.
“You can’t sit on the sidelines and make a difference. You have to be involved if you want things done the way you think they should be done,” Mayne said. “I wanted to be involved in the growth I could see was coming. While growth and opportunity was important, I wanted to protect what we had as much as possible.”
During the past two and a half decades, Gypsum has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity and weathered the recession with almost no job cuts. Gypsum was accustomed to having no money and is careful with it now that they do.
“I want to use that experience to help guide Eagle County into the future. Some of the issues that face the town also face the county. I helped find solutions to those issues and I think I can do the same with the county,” Mayne said.
Gypsum’s tax cut
Gypsum became the only government in memory to repeal a tax. The town council promised voters that if they approved a tax to pay for the Gypsum Recreation Center, then the town council would repeal it when the building was paid for. The debt was paid off early, saving Gypsum’s taxpayers millions of dollars.
“We did what we said we were going to do,” Mayne said. “It’s important for people to have that confidence, to know they can trust their government.”
Gypsum has an economic development fund, something Mayne said the county should do. The county could also do more to help the businesses already here.
“We’re able to help a few businesses each year be more successful. That can go a long way, and success breeds success,” Mayne said.
The county could use some economic diversity. Tourism will always drive the local economy, he said, but we could use a broader base.
He suggests capitalizing on what Gypsum has going already. Recreation, certainly, but also other opportunities.
“One of the businesses I’ve been involved in attracting was the biomass plant in Gypsum,” Mayne said. “It’s the only one of its kind in Colorado.”
The biomass plant converts beetle kill and dead/downed trees into electricity. Mayne said it provides good-paying jobs for up to 40 people and creates opportunities for local loggers and truckers who deliver the material. It also helps the energy co-op Holy Cross meet part of its renewable energy requirements mandated by last year’s state legislature.
The Gypsum Town Council took a long, hard look at possible pollution, but there isn’t much at all, well below any EPA standards, Mayne said.
“The economy was a concern with my parents, and it’s still a concern, but there is much more opportunity than when I grew up. If you weren’t in farming and ranching, timber or the mines, there wasn’t much opportunity,” Mayne said.
He spent years working with Vail Associates to keep food on his family’s table and pay the bills, while keeping the family ranch running.
A question of balance
“People seem to think more balance is needed on the board of county commissioners,” Mayne said.
Open space and how much we should buy is also a matter of balance, Mayne said. Approximately two-thirds of Eagle County is already open space.
“One of the issues of government controlling too much ground is that it removes the possibility for working families to own their own homes,” he said.
But it’s also important for the river corridors and stream corridors be accessible to the public, he said.
“Wetlands and view corridors need to be protected. But I feel if we don’t have available housing we’re going to lose families, and families are one of the things that keep our communities desirable,” Mayne said.
He spearheaded the effort to obtain the Eagle Valley Rod and Gun Club site from the BLM and annex it into the town. It’s now Gypsum Shooting Sports Park, one of several recreational facilities built recently in the town honored as a Playful City USA.
The Eagle Valley Rod and Gun Club that he helped found manages Gypsum’s Shooting Sports Park. It has hundreds of members from across the country.
“We try to satisfy as many different groups of people as we can with our recreational facilities,” Mayne said.
Mayne was born and raised in Gypsum and is a third generation Gypsum resident and rancher. He was educated in local schools and graduated from Eagle Valley High School, where he met his wife. They dated four years and have been married 48 years.
They have two children, both girls, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
“When I was growing up, Gypsum’s population was about the same size as my granddaughter’s freshman class at Eagle Valley High School,” Mayne said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.