Grand Lake Rec District candidates debate issues at forum |

Grand Lake Rec District candidates debate issues at forum

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News
Tony Bina/Sky-Hi Daily News

About 40 people turned out for the Grand Lake Metropolitan Recreation District Candidate Forum to scout potential board members.

The district election is around the corner ” May 6 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ” at the Grand Lake Firehouse.

Four of the five candidates took part in the forum, with candidate Joe Nesvara’s answers relayed via Grand Lake Rotary member and forum moderator Elizabeth Oldham. Present were candidates Kevin Leppke, Don Summers, Jeff Hauck and incumbent John Gould.

All candidates agreed on several points, such as allowing a future general manager to run operations without board member “micro-management.”

“It’s called board of ‘directors,’ not ‘managers’,” stated Leppke, to emphasize this point.

Several had ideas for the recreation district, such as Gould’s interest in involving other agencies such as the town, Grand Arts Center and Grand Lake Repertory Theater to collaborate and pool resources to create more programs for district members.

One of his specific goals is to find a way to provide sailing lessons and boater safety classes for local youth.

Gould also has ideas for a cardio center in the clubhouse and an expanded trail system on district land to accommodate members of all ages. Gould, district president who has served on the board 6 and one-half years, is the only incumbent in the district’s race for two board seats.

Leppke suggested the district “find a guy who can be superman” to be the district’s next general manager. “That’s the guy you gotta hire,” he said, while making the point that the job is not an easy one in managing an enterprise golf operation as well as recreation programs. Leppke threw in the idea that perhaps the general manager would need two sub managers running each of those operations.

Leppke also has visions of a clubhouse restaurant ultimately helping to attract business to the district. The operation of the district’s former restaurant was discontinued because of budget constraints.

Summer, who said he would be a “no-nonsense voice” on the board, is a Middle Park High school graduate who’s lived in the county since 1974 and has owned a business since 1997. He said he would like to see more ski races at the touring center.

And in Summer’s opinion, the district might be better suited to start from scratch and build a new and improved district clubhouse, rather than undergo possible renovations as currently planned.

Gould disagreed, saying the money available from interest of bond sales would be better used to renovate the existing clubhouse, allowing the district to do more tree mitigation work. Any proposal to build a new clubhouse should be put out to a district member vote, he said.

Hauck agreed with Gould, saying the clubhouse should be “spruced up” for now, then perhaps in five or 10 years, a new building posed to voters on the ballot.

Hauck, who has lived in the district 12 years and owns a small electrical contracting business, said one of the top reasons he moved his family to Grand Lake was the recreation district, which his oldest daughters enjoyed while visiting Grand Lake grandparents. He advocates implementing programs the community wants within budget and promoting the golf course more effectively.

Nesvara has lived in the county since 1992, and in the district since 1996. His business experience, he said, can be an asset to the district.

“I believe in balance to make things work. When I say or give my word, it will be accomplished.”

One goal he has, like Leppke, is to someday see the district budget more “streamlined.”

The hour-and-a-half forum featured three pre-arranged questions and several audience member questions, as well as opening and closing statements.

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