Seeking re-election, Avon Mayor Pro Tem Sarah Smith Hymes draws from her years of experience in Avon | VailDaily.com

Seeking re-election, Avon Mayor Pro Tem Sarah Smith Hymes draws from her years of experience in Avon

Editor's note: Keep reading the Vail Daily this week and next week for more Avon Town Council candidate profiles.

Sarah Smith Hymes, Avon's mayor pro tem, is seeking re-election to the Avon Town Council in the November election.

Smith Hymes first lived in Colorado when she worked on her uncle's ranch in the Sangre de Cristo mountains during the summers when she was in high school and college.

But she was introduced to Colorado before that.

In 1960, that same uncle had been one of the earliest investors in Vail, and while he reluctantly pulled out just a year later when additional infusions of cash were needed, he skied Vail for the rest of his life, bringing Smith Hymes along from time to time.

Later, commuting from the East Coast to China for work, she says she would fantasize about the mountains — the quality of the air, the magic of winter powder, the clarity of Gore Creek and the Eagle River.

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"Every year when I visited my brother, who had settled here the minute he got out of college, I would be reminded that my sense of this place was no fantasy, that it really was as remarkable as the memory of it I carried with me," she writes.

In 1990 Smith Hymes decided she could fly to China from Denver as easily as New York, and moved here for good.

"I married David Hymes, we built a house in Wildridge in 1993, and had two sons now in their 20s who never want to leave," she writes. "I ran for Avon Town Council four years ago to work on preserving the quality of life that drew me — and probably you — to life in a small, diverse mountain community. The extraordinary success of the ski resorts and related real estate development has created economic opportunity, but it has also put unremitting pressure on the natural and built environment."

Community viability

Smith Hymes says if Avon doesn't manage growth with an eye to protecting and enhancing the water, public lands and local workforce, the town will end up undermining the long-term viability of the community.

"That, along with the confronting the undeniable impacts that rising temperatures and reduced snowfall and snowpack will have on our way of life will continue to be my priority," she writes. "Shorter winters and fewer ski days mean that Avon has to attract shoulder and summer season visitors in greater numbers. To that end, the town council has invested responsibly in aesthetic, recreational and safety upgrades to make town a more fun, beautiful and pedestrian/bike friendly community. Special events and beach activities in the park, the redesign of Beaver Creek Boulevard, the Metcalf bike lane, the sidewalk on Nottingham Road, new Avon Road landscaping, the medical center and public safety facility and renovations to the white-water park are examples of these efforts."

Smith Hymes was on the stakeholder group that resulted in the Eagle County Climate Action Collaborative, CAC.

"I'm excited to help get the tools that the working groups of the CAC are developing into the hands of Avon's residents and businesses that want to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to our countywide goals for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions," she writes. "Equally important now and into the future as Avon's representative on the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority is the work to protect our streamflows and water quality in the face of potential prolonged drought by analyzing current water use and projecting future needs, establishing conservation and efficiency goals, and identifying programs the will meet the needs of Avon residents while preserving our most precious resource."