Occupation or former occupation if retired
Former director of special needs recreation program; former faculty member Metro State College of Denver in recreation; 30 years in parks and recreation
Park district board of directors (2006 to present)
Experience on nonprofit boards
Evergreen Recreation and Park Foundation, president (2006 to present); Colorado Park and Recreation Foundation, board member (1996 to 2006)
Ph.D. in natural resources, Colorado State University; master’s degree from UNC in recreation and parks; bachelor’s degree from Penn State in parks and recreation.
Married, Will Chester
Length of residence in Evergreen/neighborhood where you live
16 years. In Hangen Ranch west of the high school for 12 years. Previously lived on Bear Mountain
Why you are running for the park board?
I am running because I have expertise to offer. My entire career and education has been in parks and rec. I am able to provide board participation that offers my expertise.
What do you believe are the top three issues facing the park district board?
Top issue is we should focus on the best practices in parks and recreation, not providing services based on special interest group demand. Another top priority is partnerships throughout the community, and with other nonprofits, government entities and schools. A very good example is all of our sports field activities are operated through the school system, and we need to maintain and improve our partnerships with the schools whenever possible. Third is we need to complete a master plan that is based on community needs assessment.
Were you in favor of the recent feasibility study that was jointly funded by the park district and the Center for the Arts Evergreen?
I was not in favor of completing the study because it was out of sequence. Therefore it did not follow common practice in parks and recreation. The standard is, you do the needs assessment first, then you do the master plan, and then you do any required feasibility studies that might be called for.
What is your opinion of the idea of building an arts center in Buchanan Park next to the Buchanan Rec Center as a joint project of the park district and the CAE?
The citizens of Evergreen need to determine if that is something that they really want. It would require a bond issue and funding campaign. If the people of Evergreen decide that is what they really want, I will support the idea, and not until. Right now it’s an idea that is supported by a special interest group. I don’t have a huge problem if most of Evergreen says, “Build it and raise my property taxes.”
What level of development, if any, is appropriate for Buchanan Park, and how do you feel about the concerns of the neighbors in The Trails and The Ridge?
I think that we should reserve that land for any emerging needs that we see coming from the needs assessment. Not just this year but in subsequent years. To develop that land now when we don’t know what other things would crop up is premature. I am not against development. I am in favor of the right development. … I don’t have any personal interest … I appreciate the neighbors have voiced their concerns; I have listened. If everybody is a NIMBY, we shouldn’t be building anything anywhere. … If you live close to a park or open space, the value of your property increases, but not if it includes a building.
How do you see the role of the arts in a special recreation district?
Art is recreation, and it is one of the many, many activities that people enjoy for recreation. However, in a park and recreation district it must be integrated into the other activities. So it can’t stand alone and separate. So as far as having just an arts facility, if it ends up being a very popular option that citizens want us to build, we have to figure it in with other things that citizens want.
How much should the board decisions be governed by the upcoming community survey to be completed this spring?
I think the results should be considered very seriously. Other factors are what are our financial resources; what kind of land do we have available to us. It’s not just what comes up in the needs assessment.
What would you like to change, if anything, about the district and the way it is run?
I would like to see the transition started two years ago continue until it’s complete. When the transition is complete, I would like to establish the parks and recreation district as a focus for building a sense of community.
What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?
I would like to accomplish using the skills and expertise of all board members to come to consensus on all issues.
Open ended statement. Your choice.
The only other thing is, I encourage all citizens to vote on or before May 4. There are very few people who vote. Yet it is critical to the flavor of this community. There are 14,000 households in Evergreen, or about 28,000 adults, and I got 534 votes (in the last election). And that is appalling.