Fraser re-elects Fran Cook mayor; Scott Brent edges Vesta Shapiro for trustee
Ski-Hi Daily News
Mayor Fran Cook held off a challenge from contender Samuel Talbert to claim victory and retain her seat in an 80-28 vote Tuesday.
Incumbent Trustee Joyce Burford earned re-election with 63 votes, co-hort Eric Hoyhtya had 62 votes and newcomer Scott Brent had 59 votes to win the three town board trustee seats.
Incumbent Trustee Vesta Shapiro narrowly missed re-election with 54 votes. Challenger Kim Linin also was defeated with 49 votes.
Cook, a 13-year Fraser resident, was in front of her computer preparing for today’s town board meeting when she found out she was re-elected.
She said the board’s top three challenges next term are: health services, transportation and restoring recycling.
“It’s a matter of coordinating with all the other municipalities and county government to get the best value and comprehensive program for the residents’ dollar,” she said.
What set her apart in the election was her experience, objectivity and “a truly caring commitment to community,” she said.
Cook previously said it’s up to the citizens to decide whether they want to merge the towns of Winter Park and Fraser.
The Joint Working Group study showed ways both towns would benefit and a future commission will develop a scenario of how that combined town could operate, she has said.
“The overriding question is whether the people want it and what they want it to be,” she has told the Sky-Hi Daily News.
Talbert vowed to campaign harder next time.
“This has really been my first hurrah into politics,” he said. “I know how to campaign now. I didn’t do a whole lot of campaigning this time around.”
Brent, a resident for five years, has served on the town planning commission for three years. His chief goal has been to get the public more involved in community issues and to encourage them to vote in elections.
He declared after his victory that it’s working.
“We had a little bigger turnout this year,” he said.
The biggest challenge the board will face is combining Fraser and Winter Park, he said.
“It makes a lot of sense financially, but I don’t know if Winter Park is Fraser and Fraser is Winter Park,” Brent said.
“I think we should study it and let people decide what they think is best,” he said.
The Byers Peak Ranch annexation is another key topic, he said. Promoting responsible pet ownership is also in his plans.
Burford, an incumbent who has lived in Fraser for a decade, said on the road ahead she sees the town’s retail and residential sectors and downtown Fraser, along with Grand Park, continuing to grow. She sees the same future for FroDo, land bought by Fraser for retail development and affordable housing.
“I think we’re going to see some things happening as far as developers,” she said.
Grand Park recently purchased Byers Peak Ranch, which Fraser wants to annex. The land is part of Grand County currently.
She also said residents in Winter Park and Fraser will have the final say on whether the two towns should merge.
“I have no personal feelings,” she said. “I just want to make sure the process is done responsibly and accurately.”
It’s important that the two towns continue to collaborate, she added. The two municipalities already have a combined police department, building department and municipal court.
Hoyhtya, who has lived in Fraser for 11 years, urged a press for attainable workforce housing.
“I think the most challenging thing is to keep pressing for affordable housing,” he said.
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