Winter Park planning assistant moving to Cody, Wyoming
February 22, 2008
Kathy Spencer, Winter Park’s planning assistant for 10 years, is trading in her mittens and winter coat for a cowboy hat and boots.
She is leaving her position with the town to take on the job as city planner for Cody, Wyo. Originally from Black Hills, Wyo., she moved to Grand County 20 years ago and resides in Fraser.
Asked why she’s making the move, Spencer said she had been contemplating a move back home for the last few years so she could live closer to her family. The opportunity for city planner kind of fell in her lap just, she said.
“It’s amazing how all this came together,” Spencer said, as she sat at her desk inside town hall.
The city of Cody is 107 years old and has never had a city planner before. This will be Spencer’s chance to take a stab at a brand new position, and she is very excited about the challenge, she said. Her job will entail economic development and improving relations between the city and the county.
“It’s going to be a big job,” she said. “I can’t wait.”
Her experience working at Winter Park will help tremendously, she added. There she learned how to relate to people, as well as applying the “golden rule”: Treat others as you would want to be treated. She looks forward to applying those skills in Cody.
“I think the best part is getting to know the city inside and out. Putting your basic skills to use,” she said. “That’s all planning is. Building a town around people’s needs.”
Although Cody has a population of 9,000 ” a far cry from Winter Park’s 700 or so full-time residents ” the city’s main economic engine is tourism, much like Winter Park. Cody is the eastern gateway to Yellowstone National Park, which gets approximately 8 million visitors a year, Spencer said.
But that’s where the similarities end. Cody is 5,000 feet above sea level, is described as a desert-like climate, and gets an average of 36 inches of snow a year. Spencer still intends to get her fix of the mountains and the outdoors however, by traveling to Yellowstone and the Big Horn mountains. Will she miss the snow?
“Yes and no,” she said, and laughed. “I really won’t miss the 30 below mornings.”
But Spencer will miss her friends, she said; she has made many over the years ” through her first job at a local bank, to Winter Park Resort’s food and beverage department. She helped organize the A-Basin Beach Party years ago and once owned her own pet-sitting service.
With the town, she participated in the design and implementation of Hideaway Junction, Winter Park’s attainable housing project, and oversaw a countless number of meetings that shaped the town’s development.
“It’s been phenomenal. I’ve learned so much,” Spencer said, smiling. “It’s been a real honor to work with our longtime locals, to see their dreams come true. And I’ve really enjoyed working with all the staff here. I think we have great team in place.”
To reach Stephanie Miller, call (970) 887-3334, ext. 19601 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.