Granby’s new town manager wants to focus on ‘smart growth’ | SkyHiNews.com

Granby’s new town manager wants to focus on ‘smart growth’

Granby's new town manager, Aaron Blair, will begin his tenure with the local government next month.

After nearly one year without a full-time town manager, Granby's lead administrative role has been filled.

Ohio native Aaron Blair has completed contract negotiations with the town and is scheduled to begin his tenure in the High Rockies sometime in June. Blair will come to Grand County after a three-year stint as the president and chief executive of the Downtown Fresno (Calif.) Partnership where he oversaw the city's property-based improvement district.

While in Fresno, Blair helped to recruit businesses for the downtown district and worked to develop a mentor recruitment program. He also was in charge of annual and monthly events held by the downtown partnership and oversaw graphic design, marketing and social media outreach efforts.

Blair is currently finishing up his duties in Fresno and plans to move to Middle Park in early June, shortly before taking up his role in Granby. Blair told Sky-Hi News that he is excited about the future of Granby and the unique development opportunities that exist in the area.

"I've been studying the market itself and some of the market loss from the data the Town has provided," Blair said, referencing Granby's economic situation. "I'm getting a feel for what is needed and what the desire is. But I'm also being sensitive to the fact that people move to Granby and Grand County for a reason; and it isn't necessarily to have a super Wal-Mart."

He stressed the need for what he called "smart growth," protecting what is important but still adding things that improve Granby's quality of living.

Blair highlighted the opportunities that exist from the Shorefox property Granby purchased last summer as something that could create many unique opportunities.

"We want things that will help to grow the town in the right direction," he explained.

Blair is married and has two daughters with his wife, Jessica, who works as a part-time ski instructor. The couple will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary in late June. One of their daughters currently attends Oregon State University while their youngest daughter, who is set to graduate from high school this spring, will be joining her sister in Oregon next fall.

Blair, 42, received his degree from the University of Cincinnati in urban planning.

His first venture into the world of municipal administration began in Naples, Fla., after his college graduation. He started with architectural work then moved on to work as an urban design planner, drafting codes and architectural design standards.

Blair spent a shade over 11 years working for the city of Naples before he moved north to the Peach State to become the city manager of Albany, Ga. He spent three-and-a-half-years working for Albany before taking his most recent position in California.

The decision to take the position in Granby was spurred by several factors.

"My wife and I are outdoors people," said Blair, calling his new position a perfect opportunity for both their personal and professional lives. "… my wife and I made the decision to be somewhere we wanted to be."

After he took his position in Fresno, Blair and his family missed the smaller town atmosphere and relationships that existed in Albany. "We wanted to be back where relationships are valued and if you run into someone at the grocery store and spend 45 minutes talking that's fine," he said. "That is a positive for us."