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3 candidates throw hats in EPRD ring

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By Stephen Knapp

On May 6, folks living in the Evergreen Parks and Recreation District will be in an enviable position. They’ll be asked to select replacements for two outgoing EPRD board members from a field of three qualified contenders.

Of the five sitting board members, first vice president Geoff Wormer is approaching the end of his second four-year hitch and must surrender his post for at least one election cycle. Board president Jeff Knetsch, on the other hand, has chosen not to seek a second term.

“I’ve really loved serving on the board, but between work and family, I’ve got a lot on my plate these days,” Knetsch says. “I decided it was time to give someone else a shot.”

Following the May 6 election, the reconstituted board of directors will reallocate titles and responsibilities among its members.

Herewith, and without further ado, please extend a hearty “howdy” to three area residents hoping for a chance to serve their neighbors.

Janet Doyle

An avid runner, snowboarder and accomplished triathlete, Janet Doyle came to Evergreen 10 years ago from the Washington, D.C., area for a couple of excellent reasons.

“I love the mountains, and I fell in love with the community,” says Doyle, 53. “The people here are friendly and interesting. I’ve lived in my share of places, and this is the best place in the world to live.”

A successful corporate attorney and businesswoman, Doyle lives in The Ridge with her husband, Fred, a Ball Aerospace engineer, and their 12-year-old son, Lucas. A regular visitor at Buchanan Park Recreation Center, she’s eager to serve what she counts as among the area’s most important organizations.”

“I recently retired and was looking for ways to get more involved in the community,” she says. “I started by joining the Evergreen Recreation and Park Foundation, and I’m now the president of the Evergreen Music Festival. When I heard that board seats were becoming available, I thought that would dovetail nicely with my foundation. My business and legal skills would easily translate to the board, and it’s a way to continue doing something that benefits the community that’s in my area of interest.”

Next to helping ease EPRD’s transition from a Dick Wulf administration to that of recently installed executive director John Skeel, the district’s future in North Evergreen tops Doyle’s priority list.

“A number of challenges face EPRD in the next couple of years, and Buchanan Park is definitely the largest,” she says. “I would like to see balance in its development, and make certain that there’s broad community consensus on what should be built there. Is it really going to be developed according to the master plan, or will it be scaled back by community input?

“Right now, the people immersed in the project are driving this, and my impression is that there are still a lot of people who haven’t been consulted. I’m not faulting the board — they’ve taken a great first step — but I think the board needs to continue surveying the community as to exactly what they want and enlighten them as to the possibilities. There needs to be a balance of the desires of all groups.”

Speaking of balance, Doyle believes her presence on the board would provide some of the same on the yang-heavy panel.

“Not to detract from anyone sitting on the board, but I think it’s good to have a balance of men and women,” she says. “Women bring a different perspective and a different skill set. And I think Kit Darrow might like the company.”

Richard Whitehill

When he retired from a 30-year career teaching psychology at the University of California at San Diego, Richard Whitehill spent another five years founding and leading a small community church in neighboring Del Mar, Calif. Finally heeding the siren’s call of the mountains, six years ago he and his wife began scouring the country in search of the perfect mountain town.

“We had some very specific criteria,” says Whitehill, 70. “It had to have a mild climate, access to a major city, a low tax base and extensive outdoor and indoor recreation facilities. Evergreen is the only community in the country that fills all the criteria. We didn’t know it when we started, but Evergreen is a very, very singular community.”

For that matter, Whitehill’s welcome to his new Colorado home was pretty singular, too.

“We moved in on March 17, 2003,” he says, grinning broadly. “That’s the day the snow started falling.”

Most area residents will recall that the snow kept falling until a large portion of the Front Range lay immobile beneath a smothering blanket of winter. Perched high on the southern shoulder of Bear Mountain, the Whitehills’ house may as well have been on the dark side of the moon.

“Instead of moving into our house, we moved into the Quality Inn with about 150 other people that we got to know very, very well,” he laughs.

Self-described “gym rats,” the Whitehills were among the first visitors to the Buchanan Park Recreation Center and have been regular guests ever since.

“You could say that my interest in recreation comes naturally,” Whitehill says. “In 1942 my mom started the first recreation center in New York state.”

His interest in physical fitness didn’t end there. In the 1970s, Whitehill became involved with a recently developed exercise regime to the extent that he traveled throughout the Midwest promoting the program to community and commercial groups.

“I wanted to raise awareness that reasonable recreational activity is important for physical and mental well-being, especially for kids.”

If elected to EPRD’s board, Whitehill intends to do whatever he can to preserve what he considers a major community asset.

“I think the district is very vital in both senses — it’s very much alive, and it’s necessary to the community. Recent cuts in school funding have gutted schools’ physical education programs. The rec district can fill that gap. They’ve been talking about expanding Buchanan Rec Center, and I’d like to explore the possibility of adding a multipurpose gymnasium to the facility.

“My chief interest in running is to keep a good thing going, and to make it even better.”

Peter Eggers

From the deck of their central Evergreen house, Peter and Peggy Eggers enjoy a spectacular panorama that takes in both the nearby Evergreen Lake House and, in the middle distance, the Wulf Recreation Center. Considering their record of community service to the EPRD, it’s as appropriate as it is beautiful.

Peter Eggers, 59, has lived in Evergreen since 1971 and has been a tireless community booster for 23 years. His community credentials include several years on the board of Art for the Mountain Community, and years more on the executive committee of Citizens for Parks, the local group that successfully promoted the bond issue and mill levy that paid for, among other things, Stagecoach Park, the Marshdale playing fields and the Wulf Recreation Center remodel. More recently, Eggers has chaired the Buchanan Park improvement executive committee since 2006.

Perhaps more germane to the coming election, Eggers sat on EPRD’s board of directors from 1992 to 2004 (the two-term rule took force after his first hitch), including a four-year stint as board president. During that time, he helped direct the construction of the Evergreen Lake House, the acquisition of land for Buchanan Park, and the creation of the Buchanan Park Recreation Center. While those are all notable accomplishments, Eggers stresses that he was merely one among many involved in those projects.

“The one thing I will take credit for is the field thing,” he says, referring to the Citizens Field Advisory Committee he formed in 1996 to address Evergreen’s dearth of grass playing fields. “I’d say that committee is the most important thing I’ve accomplished, and it set the stage for a lot of what we have today.”

After four years of forced retirement, Eggers hopes to regain a seat on the EPRD board and continue his commitment to the district.

“For the new board, job one will be supporting the new director and staff and assuring that the district continues to operate smoothly.

“Another big issue facing the board is policies. The Buchanan Park master plan asks the district to review some of its policies and formulate some new ones. Emerging partnerships with groups like Kiwanis and the veterans are going to need to be examined and policies set on how those kinds of partnerships will work.”

While Eggers tends to soft-pedal his own contributions to the community, he believes that his long involvement in district affairs can provide the board with necessary historical context.

“I can provide continuity and institutional memory,” he says. “I offer an anchoring in the past combined with a willingness to go with new ideas.”