Steamboat Springs Kevin Bennett, the Steamboat Springs City Council president for the past seven years, said Friday he will not seek re-election to the Council in November.
Bennett said he decided not to run because he wants to spend his time on other pursuits and earn a somewhat better living than the $800 monthly salary the position offers. Bennett has owned and co-owned businesses in Steamboat, selling menswear and antiques. He owned the Fair Exchange until 1997.
Bennett was first elected to City Council in 1993. He was elected council president by his fellow council members one year later when his predecessor stepped down. He has headed the council from the time the council sat in the public safety building until it moved into its current home this year in Centennial Hall.
Council members presented Bennett, who initially came up with the idea to pursue the Elkins Power Plant building on 10th Street for a new city hall, with a ceremonial gavel at one of the first meetings in the new building.
"It's been an honor and a privilege to serve as council president for four different councils. We live in an absolutely fabulous community where the issues are substantive but not overwhelming," Bennett said. "I look forward to working with any new council members. This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life."
Bennett thinks his most important legacy to the city will prove to be the addition of park land and open space, particularly along the Yampa River corridor. During the past eight years, the city has been able to acquire or preserve almost 800 acres of park land and open space in and around the city, oftentimes through partnerships and grants. That represents a 400 percent increase in public lands, Bennett said.
The city has spent an average of only $100,000 of local tax money each year on open space in that time, Bennett said.
Bennett, who is a District 1 representative from Old Town, has lived in Steamboat for 31 years, coming here in 1970 as a 22-year-old. Bennett has collected a full 30 season passes to the ski area.
This November, four seats will be up for grabs in the Steamboat Springs City Council. Nomination petitions can be obtained from City Clerk Julie Jordan-Struble at City Hall beginning on Aug. 7 and must be returned by Aug. 27.