Heading into his second term as Castle Rock’s mayor after running uncontested, Jason Gray feels confident voters are supportive of his model of “growth with vision” when it comes to …
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Heading into his second term as Castle Rock’s mayor after running uncontested, Jason Gray feels confident voters are supportive of his model of “growth with vision” when it comes to managing the developing town.
Following the election, Gray said he appreciated the vote of confidence from the town in his leadership.
“It’s just nice that the town citizens saw fit to vote for me again and that no one wanted to run against me,” he said.
Looking at his time in office, Gray highlighted a number of accomplishments in the town to manage new building, improve parks and increase town services. Gray is particularly proud of the redevelopment downtown, which he said will continue to be a priority.
“The downtown speaks for itself. In the last four years, downtown has really seen a big revitalization and it’s been really vibrant and I think we’re going to keep doing it,” he said.
Another of Gray’s priorities is improving parks and recreation. He pointed to Cobblestone Ranch Park and the Metzler Family Open Space as examples of recent efforts. Currently, the town is also considering a public-private partnership to build a new recreation center.
Gray said he’s excited for the future of the project, which will help meet the high demand for attractions that Castle Rock is seeing.
“We’d like to be a regional draw, not only for our own rec center, but for other sports and stuff,” he said. “What we’re seeing a lot, on the weekends especially, is people who don’t want to go up to the mountains or who want to avoid traffic are coming down to Castle Rock. We’re becoming a destination spot, which is really neat.”
When it comes to the town’s booming development, Gray acknowledged that it’s not all positive. He said he tries to approach it with an eye toward balancing construction and open space and amenities.
An example Gray gave isthe town’s work with the Dawson Trails development to downsize the number of units planned and increase the open space in the neighborhood.
“With the growth hopefully comes more and more amenities and that you’re not just seeing growth for growth's sake, you’re seeing growth with a vision, making our downtown better, having big time amenities and a small time charm,” he said. “I think the town does a really good job of trying to ask more from developers and people who already have entitlements and see where we can meet in the middle.”
Another balancing act for Gray is the need for more revenue to support the expansion of services, such as police and firefighters, that growth demands, while the town relies mostly on sales tax and development fees, which often fluctuate.
Gray said he envisions more conversation at the council level to come up with solutions to a more stable revenue source.
“I don’t think the town or council has an exact idea of what that revenue source looks like,” he said. “I think we’re going to explore that and figure out if it needs to come from the town or come from the voters depending on what’s really needed for our town.”
Gray added that he hopes the next four years will have more compromise and collaboration.
In recent meetings, council members have fought on the dias, prompting Gray to encourage his fellow council members to avoid personal attacks and maintain decorum while representing the town.
Moving forward, Gray said he will advocate for council members to abide the outcome of votes.
“I think, in general, on almost everything, we respect the vote,” he said. “But there have been certain three or four different things that the council hasn’t respected the vote and that’s hard. When a vote doesn’t go my way, I try to be respectful of it and I’d like to see the same from everybody else.”
Over the past four years as mayor, Gray said the most important lesson he has learned is to listen to citizens, be available and communicate as much as possible.
It will continue to be a priority in his second-term, he said.
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