Five eyeing Snowmass council seats; Manchester unopposed | AspenTimes.com

Five eyeing Snowmass council seats; Manchester unopposed

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Five Snowmass Village residents are now candidates for two seats on the Town Council, and Mayor T. Michael Manchester is running unopposed for re-election.

The deadline for registering as council and mayoral candidates for the November election in Snowmass Village was Friday.

Doug “Merc” Mercatoris is running to retain his current seat on the board. Another seat on the five-member board is opening up as Bob Purvis is stepping down after being appointed last year.

And as a result, Bill Boineau, George Huggins, Stan Kornasiewicz and John Wilkinson are all now candidates for the council along with Mercatoris.

The top two vote-getters will take a seat at the council table along with Manchester and current board members Dick Virtue and Arnold Mordkin.

Council members serve four-year terms in Snowmass Village. The mayor serves two years at a time and runs in a separate category from the council candidates.

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Unless a write-in candidate mounts a winning challenge, Manchester will serve a third term as mayor. When asked if he was taking the lack of a challenger as an acknowledgement of a job well done, Manchester said, “If I was really screwing up, there would be people out there.”

Whoever is sitting at the Town Council table next year will play a big role in deciding the fate of the Base Village project, which includes 683 condos and 150,000 square feet of commercial space.

Boineau, 44, has lived in Snowmass Village for 22 years and runs a computer consulting business. This is his third run for council. He was elected in 1994 and served four years. In 1998, he ran again but was not elected. He is currently serving on the town’s planning commission and is president of the Snowmass/Wildcat Fire Protection District.

“I think Base Village needs to happen,” Boineau said. “I think it needs to be developed. But I think we need to be smart about it.”

Wilkinson, 48, has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for 23 years and moved to Snowmass Village in 1993. He has been in commercial insurance with the Aspen Agency since coming to the valley.

He is also on the town’s planning commission and the town’s trails committee, and is the chairman of the Pitkin County Library board of trustees. He was also appointed by Gov. Owens to serve on the state library board representing western Colorado.

This is Wilkinson’s first run for office, and he is eager to ask some tough questions about Base Village.

“There is a way to make it work, I just don’t believe it has been presented yet,” Wilkinson said. “In its current form, it is going to kill the mall. The scale of the village doesn’t bother me so much but you have to improve the connectivity to the mall. We have to find something that doesn’t destroy the investment in the mall.”

Kornasiewicz, 49, has lived in Snowmass Village for 18 years and is president of the Alpine Bank office there. He is on the fire district board and is also on the board of governors of the Snowmass Village Resort Association.

And he wants to bring a banker’s perspective to the review of Base Village.

“As a general concept I am in favor of it, but I am not one to nitpick it to death,” he said. “If you don’t keep the size or density or mass, a lot of these projects don’t become economically feasible. And if they are not economically feasible, then what gives people the incentive to build them?”

Huggins, 54, has been in the valley since 1973, and his first job was at the Tower restaurant on the mall. He has lived in Snowmass Village since 1989 and is a real estate broker with Coates, Reid and Waldron.

He has served on the town’s planning commission for nine years and is currently chairman of the board, which recently sent a recommendation for approval of Base Village to the Town Council.

“I’m pretty pleased,” said Huggins. “It needs further work. But Intrawest has been very good about making adjustments and listening to the planning commission.”

Mercatoris, 52, is the owner of the Mountain Dragon restaurant, which is one flight up from the mall. He has lived in Snowmass Village since 1977 and is president of the Snowmass Community Fund, which funds the free Thursday night concerts on Fanny Hill. He also serves on the SVRA board as a restaurant representative.

He was first elected to Town Council in 1988 and was elected again in 1992. In 1996, he lost a bid for mayor to Ted Grenda. After taking two years off from town government, he was elected in 1998 to his present four-year term.

“I just feel it is really an important time for me to stay in there,” he said of his bid for another term. “We are at a critical juncture, and I feel I’ve done a good job and I’d like to keep serving the community.

“I think the Base Village is very important for our community and to finish off that area properly is key. I am not convinced that the way things are presented today is the proper Base Village. I think there is a lot of work that needs to be done on the application, including on employee housing, on the mass and scale, and the mountain plan for summer needs to be addressed.”

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