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FIRESTONE — The ballots are out, and town voters are deciding between five candidates for three open positions on the Firestone Town Board of Trustees.
Charles Staples has been following the decisions of the town board, and he wants to provide direction for the trustees in managing future growth.
“I moved to Firestone four years ago, and I’ve been kind of haunting the board of trustees meetings. And I just looked at the board and said, ‘I think these people could use a little professionalism, maybe light a little fire under them,” Staples said. “And I thought I was the person to do that.”
In the decade between 2000 and 2010, Firestone was the fastest growing community in Colorado, with 432 percent growth in the number of residents according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
“This town has grown hugely in the past ten years,” Staples said. “Although it’s slowed down in the last couple of years during the economic downturn, it’s not going to stop. Firestone is going to keep growing.”
The key will be managing growth rationally, he said, and if elected, Staples said his more than 20 years experience as a managing consultant will be valuable for that task.
“My background is going in, identifying problems, identifying all the people affected by whatever the issue is, and then getting them all to sit down to identify a solution, and then drive the solution to a conclusion,” Staples said. “And I think that’s a pretty good description of what a trustee is doing.”
Staples, who has lived in Firestone just shy of five years, said that he wants to encourage local businesses to open shop in town as opposed to focusing only on national chains.
“What about a home-grown coffee shop? What about a small local burger place?” Staples said. “Let’s keep the profits in town rather than ship them off to Arkansas.”
The last day to turn in ballots for this year’s election is April 1. Staples is competing against John Henry Damsma, Bobbi Sindelar, Samantha Meiring and Jennifer Weinberger for the three open seats.
“I really believe Firestone is at a very critical point right now,” Staples said. “We’ve done a very good job managing really explosive growth in the last 10 to 12 years. And these guys have done a great job of doing it. But I think now is the time take a breath, think about where we want to be 10 years from here, 15 years from here, and try to guide the town to that goal.”
On his campaign website, Staples recounts his experience living in a town experiencing a similar transformation as Firestone.
“The town in which I lived previously in Illinois faced the same challenges. Technically an exurb, just like Firestone, too far from the city to be a suburb, but suffering the city’s growth pains just the same, we struggled with expansion problems on a weekly basis,” Staples wrote.
He worked to help elect a friend to the position of mayor, and in the course of the campaign, which garnered 80 percent of the vote, Staples said he learned a lot about the effects of civic engagement on the community.
“But I was inspired, I learned, and ultimately came to believe that who you elect makes a large difference in what your town can become,” Staples said.
Contact Ben Wiebesiek at 303-659-2522, ext. 205, or email firstname.lastname@example.org