Five candidates are running for three open seats on the Dolores Town Board in the April 7 election.
Terms are up for James Biard, Cody Folsom and Val Truelsen.
Candidates running for the open seats are: Folsom, John Andy Lewis, Kirk Swope, Val Truelsen and Sheila Wheeler. The candidates recently presented their views to The Journal.
Folsom owns the Dolores Outfitter and works as a logger for the Ironwood Mill.
Last year, Folsom held an economic development forum. One idea that came from that was considering OHV use in town, but there were others also that got less attention.
He would like to see a bench installed for the Bustang bus stop on Colorado Highway 145. The bus stops in Dolores twice per day on its round trip between Durango and Grand Junction.
“Many don’t know about the bus. It benefits the public and economy,” he said.
He and others pushed for more transparency, which led to the posting of meeting agendas and information on the town website.
As a river town, Dolores should try and attract a rafting company, Folsom added.
“Diversification and working together is how Dolores will succeed,” he said.
John Andy Lewis
Lewis is a restaurant and brewery manager at the Dolores River Brewery. He has a degree in human health science including studies in risk management.
His education background “gives me helpful tools when informing and communicating with local citizens on important issues.”
On economic development, Lewis said more recreation opportunities will help attract more visitors. Along with the new playground, he would like to see the walking trails expanded, a local tennis court, a public soccer field with goals and painted lines, and improved basketball courts.
He wants to better parks for kids, including his new daughter, to grow up with.
“Great parks attract local families from neighboring communities,” he said.
Lewis said as a public servant, he will be open minded and understanding.
“I like to pool multiple opinions and facts before making a stance on issues,” he said.
Kirk Swope has owned the Outpost Motel in Dolores for 10 years. He has college degrees from Colorado Mesa University and Fort Lewis College and served in the U.S. Marines. Swope serves on the Lodgers Tax Board and the Dolores Fire Department board.
“I will make solid, sound decisions for Dolores and its residents,” he said. “I would like to improve the town relations with the fire department, Chamber of Commerce and Dolores Schools.”
Swope believes OHVs would greatly benefit Dolores, and based on his personal experience they would benefit motel, cabins and RV parks.
“We have request from our RV visitors to encourage this,” he said.
More promotion is needed for McPhee reservoir, the Dolores River, and the national forest, he added.
“I want to encourage more people to come to our great town. Have them stay here, eat here,” Swope said.
Truelsen Truelsen is the owner of the Ponderosa Restaurant and a local saw mill.
He wants to continue projects in the pipeline, including the new playground at Joe Rowell Park, and upgrades to the town’s water and sewer systems.
He supported improved communication to residents, such as posting meetings and events online, and holding forums on big topics.
“More communication is also needed between the board and local businesses,” he said.
Truelsen wants more promotion for fishing at McPhee at the river, and for the mountain bike trails at Boggy Draw, including the new Overlook Trail with views of McPhee Reservoir.
“We’re not getting equal billing, Phil’s World in Cortez seems to get all the publicity. It’s time Boggy Draw gets more attention,” he said. “We offer great beginner and intermediate trails for families and kids. Our new snow biking trails also need publicity.”
Wheeler is an educator in the health and personal development fields, and regularly attends Dolores town board meetings. She has served on a school board and community events board while living South Africa.
Wheeler comes from a family of public servants, and seeks a town board position to support her community.
Encouraging citizens to participate in local government is one of Wheeler’s goals. Another is improving communication and information gathering between area towns.
Better advertisement of town meetings and events will help residents stay more informed and involved, she said, such as a more visible marquee of events and meetings.
Her style of governance is “using critical thinking while staying fair.”
On the economy, she promotes “smart growth” and will focus on using local assets to build the economy while supporting a clean and healthy environment.
“We want to keep the livability and small town character of our town,” she said.