Mountain Recreation board election is slated for May 5 | VailDaily.com
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Mountain Recreation board election is slated for May 5

Five candidates for three seats and voters are encouraged to vote by absentee ballot

EAGLE COUNTY — Residents of the Mountain Recreation special district will elect three board members this spring, with election day slated for Tuesday, May 5.

Five candidates are running for three board positions — incumbents Liz Jones, Mikayla Curtis and Chris Pryor and challengers Shawna Topor and Craig Colby — and Mountain Recreation is working with state and county health officials to develop election protocols to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus among voters. 

“We have to host the election since state laws regarding special district elections do not provide for an opportunity to postpone,” said Janet Bartnik, Mountain Rec’s executive director. “The district’s designated election official has developed a plan to reduce the chance of transmission and we are strongly recommending voters apply for absentee ballots if they have any concerns about in-person voting.”

Absentee ballot applications can be found online on the Mountain Recreation website. Completed application forms must be returned to designated election official Meghan Hayes by 5 p.m,, Tuesday, April 28. 

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Voters are encouraged to request an absentee ballot as soon as possible. Ballots will be mailed out upon receiving the absentee ballot request, giving voters time to fill out and mail back their ballots prior to the May 5 deadline. 

Options to return the application include in person, by mail, by fax, or by email:

  • In-person or by US Mail: 28 Second Street, Ste 213, Edwards, CO 81632
  • Fax: 970)926-6040
  • Email: meghan@mwcpaa.com

Completed absentee ballots must be received by the election judge or designated election official by 7 p.m. on election day, May 5, to be counted.

In person voting will be conducted at the Gypsum Recreation Center, Brush Creek Pavilion in Eagle, and the Edwards Field House from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 5. 

Candidate information for the Mountain Recreation election follows:

Elizabeth “Liz” Jones

Residence: Gypsum since 2008

Profession: Director of Administration at Beaver Creek Resort Company

Why did you decide to run for the Mountain Recreation Board? 

Four years ago, I ran for the board to help bring positive change to the district. Four years later, I am proud of what this board and staff have accomplished. Together we’ve reorganized, rebranded and expanded the district’s services and offerings, while also redefining our organization’s vision and its commitment to the community.

I am once again running for the Mountain Recreation Board to continue what we’ve started: expanding services and enhancing service levels while navigating a comprehensive plan to upgrade facilities across the district. Mountain Recreation’s stated mission more important than ever: We provide world-class recreational opportunities in our community so everyone lives a happy and healthy life.

What projects do you feel are the most important for the board focus? 

In the past four years, the board has been a great agent of change for the district, creating a unified vision and direction for the future.  As Eagle County’s population continues to grow, Mountain Recreation must also be ready to meet the increased demand placed upon its services and facilities. It’s vital that we complete the transition from recreation centers to multi-generational, multi-cultural community centers that provide welcoming spaces and healthy activities for all. We’ve studiously asked the questions and then listened while the public answered with their desire for more services, diversified offerings, and upgraded facilities. The Board’s No.1 focus in the next several years will be managing growth and providing upgraded facilities for future needs. The challenges of today are unique. We need to continue to address them thoughtfully and with the short- and long-term interests of the community in mind. Armed with Mountain Recreation’s vision and core values, we will continue to focus on our strategic priorities and serving the public with arguably one of the greatest assets that impacts the quality of life of Eagle County residents — its recreation district.

Craig Colby

Residence: Salt Creek Road, Eagle County

Profession: Retired

Why did you decide to run for the Mountain Recreation Board?

I’ve been a participant in the recreation districts’ noon ball program for more than 40 years and my family has taken part in the various recreation programs over the years. I feel that it is now time to give back and contribute to the organization to ensure that these programs continue for future generations as well as expanding the program format for the entire county.

What projects do you feel are most important for the board’s focus?

It is important to focus on and evaluate all projects but place emphasis on those that offer the best benefit to the community in total. With my background in finance and management, I feel it is imperative to ensure the financial viability of the recreation district and its ability to provide those projects. I would like to see facilities that can accommodate multiple activities with structure hours for the participants. Facilities should be able to accommodate community fund-raising efforts as well as multiple sport tournaments and multimedia events.

Mikayla Curtis

Residence: Eagle

Profession: Manager of Strategic Impact at Mountain Youth

Why did you decide to run for the Mountain Recreation Board?

The district has made great progress in the past four years under the direction of the current board and staff. Two years ago we adopted a new strategic plan that is guiding us to improve service opportunities and become a stronger community asset. I believe this vision is improving the health and well-being for all community members and I look forward to continuing the goals of this plan.

What projects do you feel are most important for board consideration?

In the immediate future, the board must focus on balancing the current economic situation, community needs, and financial decisions that will keep the district strong for years to come. In the midterm, it is important to focus on strengthening partnerships to collectively address community recreation and health needs. In the long term, the board must work to address capital projects for a growing community and increased demand for facilities and activities

Shawna Topor

Residence: Eagle

Profession: Executive Vice President, Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate

Why did you decide to run for the Mountain Recreation Board?

I have lived and worked in the valley for 22 years and am dedicated to bringing the best experience to the children and adults who benefit from the facilities and programming offered by Mountain Recreation. As the parent of two active participants, I am running for the board to bring a positive impact to the community that I care deeply about.

What projects do you feel are most important for board consideration?

Having managed multiple teams and budgets, I understand that it is important for the board to first focus first on the unique challenges COVID-19 will bring to facilities and programming when we reopen. SSF will reopen 27 offices and I will bring those best practices to Mountain Recreation. With plans for facility expansion, focus on smart growth and development is important and my experience in real estate development will lend expertise. The care and advancement of the facility staff is also important as they are the faces of Mountain Recreation and it’s critical they feel valued.

Christopher “Chris” Pryor

Residence: Edwards since 2007

Profession: Current member of the Mountain Recreation Board and a stay-at-home dad

Why did you decide to run for the Mountain Recreation Board?

As a current member of the board, I feel that we have accomplished many of our strategic goals. These goals included bringing in a new Executive Director Janet Bartnik, paying-off our previous bonds, formalizing our community grant process, improving community partnerships and addressing the district’s communications and marketing needs.

The current board also created a formal strategic plan with regular updates provided by staff to ensure current projects and district needs are accomplished. We have also worked to develop a sustainable workforce while extending appropriate benefits and have adapted to an employee-friendly culture with scholarship opportunities and a restructured organizational chart.

I feel that each area (Edwards, Eagle, and Gypsum) should be fairly represented on the board. While I have remained fiscally conservative, I believe the current board has spent the appropriate amount of taxpayer dollars to move the district forward. I also believe there is more to accomplish, both with our facilities and programming opportunities.

What projects do you feel are most important for Board consideration?

The current board has been reviewing several projects and opportunities to improve the Eagle Sports Complex, Eagle Pool & Ice Rink and the Edwards Fieldhouse. With the current pandemic facing our community, it is essential for the board and district’s leadership to monitor and navigate the long-term effects on the recreation district.

Our facilities are indeed beginning to show the effects of aging and heavy use. The district will need to spend money at some point for capital improvement projects with Eagle and Edwards facilities. We need to remain mindful of needs versus wants while understanding these facilities are assets in our community.

Electing board members with institutional knowledge of the recreation district, such as myself, is necessary. We need to be both fiscally conservative and mindful of appropriate growth needs. Potential improvements and programming decisions should keep the district financially viable while providing recreational enrichment for our community.


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