Minturn’s new mayor looks to maintain ‘funky mountain town’ vibe
John Widerman appointed mayor of Minturn on Feb. 20
In a town with no term limits for government officials due to its small size, Minturn’s newly appointed mayor isn’t looking to get comfortable. John Widerman, 34, is looking to get things done.
“If I’m sitting in a council seat or this mayor’s position for more than a couple of terms and if I can’t get what I’m hoping to accomplish done in that amount of time, then I would like to see leadership evolve,” Widerman said over the phone on Tuesday.
His professional and government track record show Widerman moves quickly. He moved to Minturn about eight years ago. Formerly a bus driver in Minturn, Widerman now works for the school district managing Maloit Park. He joined the Minturn Town Council in May of 2016, less than three years ago.
“I think John will be just great,” Councilman Earle Bidez said. “He’s been the hardest-working member on the board. He really came in and learned fast and I think he will do just fine.”
‘Just one more vote’
With former mayor Matt Scherr accepting a position vacated by Jill Ryan with the Eagle County Commissioners, Widerman was appointed as Minturn mayor on Feb. 20.
“Part of the reason I ran was because of his governance style,” Widerman said of Scherr. “He was pretty inspiring to me. One of my biggest takeaways was that he wasn’t there to control the conversation. He was super approachable, always lighthearted and didn’t take himself too seriously.”
As a member of the council, Widerman worked on multiple committees, helping bring collaboration to Minturn. He said before it felt like “Minturn was kind of on its own.” Looking forward, Widerman is excited to continue working with and leading the council.
“We’re all very independent thinkers,” he said. “I describe it as we’re on different airplanes going to the same airport. We’re not a contentious council by nature, we’re just willing to compromise and I think Matt led the charge on letting us speak our minds and get our ideas out.”
Some of the bigger issues facing Minturn, Widerman said, include a possible Holy Cross power line, developing Battle Mountain, water rights and what to do with the gun range.
As mayor, Widerman is looking to listen to the community with each issue.
“We’re still a funky mountain town, and I think it’s really important that we remember that all of the time,” he said. “Other than having a little bit of authority on what goes on with the agenda, the mayor is just one more vote.”
Money has poured in from all corners of the valley to support a new bike park in Minturn.