Winter Park’s mayor of 26 years reflects on changes as he prepares to leave | SkyHiNews.com

Winter Park’s mayor of 26 years reflects on changes as he prepares to leave

Katie Looby
Sky-Hi Daily News

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News

In an era before laptop computers, cell phones and DVDs, Mayor Nick Teverbaugh was running Winter Park the old fashion way.

Teverbaugh, 62, was elected mayor in 1982.

When he moved into the town 30 years ago, he said it was like coming home. While the town has grown up, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the people, he said.

“The people are here to help each other,” he said. “It’s a really close community. It’s what I noticed when I came here, and it still seems … to be the same.”

Teverbaugh, whose term is not up until 2010, will step down from his post Tuesday, April 15, but will remain on council for three months.

Council members will choose the mayor and mayor pro-tem for two-year terms from among themselves. The remaining six council members will then interview community members to find a council member to take his place until the next elections.

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Teverbaugh will move to Stagecoach Reservoir, 15 miles south of Steamboat Springs, to join his wife.

Mike Periolat, who has served on the Winter Park Council with Teverbaugh for several years, said it will be challenging without him as their leader.

“His ability to bring the council to a consensus is really the best thing he has done for our town,” Periolat said. “(Teverbaugh) has always been a personality that lets things work out instead of stalling.

“It’s really going to be difficult without him. We rely on him a lot. History is a great thing in government. We listen to Nick and have a lot of respect for him.”

Periolat said Teverbaugh has committed many hours to serving the town during the last 26 years.

“That’s quite a commitment,” he said. “He definitely has taught me a lot. … It’s very difficult to find people to commit the time and energy.”

Teverbaugh said the town has matured, and land values have increased.

In the future, he said there could be more second home development as well as development of affordable housing.

“A lot of the physical things have changed, but it’s still a very close community,” he said. “It’s exciting to be a part of it … I think we will keep growing. I think a lot of the growth will continue to be second homes.”

He said his experience and history have been helpful, and a sign that they have been appreciated occurred in 2006, when the Winter Park Town Hall was named after him.

“People seemed happy to let me do it over a long period of time,” he said. “There are a lot of things going on. That’s a good time for someone to come in with new challenges.”

Teverbaugh, an Oklahoma native, graduated from Rice University in Houston with a bachelor of arts degree in 1967. He received his master’s in chemical engineering in 1968.

He moved to Winter Park in 1977. After skiing at the resort in 1976-77, he and a partner bought Millers Inn in the summer of 1977.

“I had learned to ski just a few years before that in California,” he said. “It was just one of those things that kind of happen in your life.”

In October 1988, the lodge burned down due to an electrical fire. No one was hurt, and they sold the property to the Housing Authority to be converted into affordable condominiums.

Winter Park, formerly known as Winter Park Incorporated, used to be a statutory community. It became a home rule town in the mid-1980s.

“Most of the resort communities in Colorado were home ruled,” Teverbaugh said. “You’re not bound by state statute. It gives you more control over decisions at the local level.”

The town has made many improvements throughout the years, he said.

“We’ve made a lot of capital improvements to the town,” he said. “We’ve generally done a good job negotiating with developers and annexations. We’ve seen major changes with the ski area.”

The Winter Park Recreational Association was the original operator for the city of Denver, and Teverbaugh was a member of the self-perpetuating board for 17 years.

Intrawest is the current operator and is owned by Fortress Investment Group.

While there are ongoing projects in the town ” such as the $3.6 million Hideaway Park project ” Teverbaugh wants people who earn their living in Winter Park to be able to afford to live there.

Ten houses have been built on the nine acres of land purchased from Hideaway Junction; 30 more houses could also stand at the location, he said.

“That has been something that I think has been really good for the community,” he said. “All of the resort communities really struggle with affordable housing.”

Among the physical improvements made during his tenure, Teverbaugh cited Winter Park working with the Colorado Department of Transportation on Highway 40.

Parking lanes were installed, driveways were removed, and traffic was more organized through town.

At Wolf Park, off Highway 40, crews installed a gazebo, trails, basketball and tennis courts, a picnic shelter and bathrooms. And more projects will be forthcoming as voters recently passed a 1 percent sales and lodging tax.

The levy, originally adopted in 1991, will continue to fund marketing and capital improvements. This is the fourth time the community has re-authorized the sales tax.

“Before that there were years that our total capital improvement budget was about $25,000,” he said. “So there were not a lot of things we could do … Once it passed, we started being able to do larger projects.

Teverbaugh married Mary Edwards last July, a financial aid specialist for Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat and a former special education teacher. He has six step-children and three grandchildren who live in Colorado.

He said he is excited about the move to Stagecoach Reservoir.

“I’m not interested in getting involved in local politics over there,” he said. “I thoroughly enjoyed doing it here in a community I love … Winter Park felt like I was coming home the first time I came here, and it felt like that all the way through.”

He said he will miss parts of his job and being involved in the community. However, he is looking forward to the next chapter of his life.

Plans for his retirement include relaxing and traveling with his wife.

“(Stagecoach Reservoir) is a community that I have visited and enjoyed,” he said. “I’m looking forward to slowing down a little and traveling with Mary.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to just sit around and not do anything. It’s time for a different type of activity.”

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