Steamboat Springs After eight years of public service, Routt County Commissioner Ben Beall is calling it quits.
Fellow Commissioners Nancy Stahoviak and Dan Ellison will host a public farewell at the courthouse annex tonight. They hope friends, colleagues and the public will attend.
"There may be some special momentos we give to Ben," Stahoviak said rather slyly. "If there's some people who want to share some memories or incidents with Ben let's just say there could be some mini-roasts."
Beall appears a little embarrassed by the attention but is happy about being able to say goodbye to everyone.
"I appreciate Dan and Nancy doing this," he said. "It would just be great if I'm able to see some of the county employees that I worked with for eight years, so I can tell them how much I appreciate working with them. We've accomplished a lot."
Beall made his mark on the political scene by leading the fight against a proposed ski area and resort development at Lake Catamount. The issue carried him to a victory over incumbent Randy Taylor back in 1992. Developers of a Catamount ski area eventually withdrew the proposal, and future owners were able to get a more modest, lower-density project started without a ski area.
Beall is also known for his work on the preservation of Emerald Mountain. Admirers say if not for Beall's work, the State Land Board would have already sold the 6,500 acres of school trust land just south of downtown to developers. Beall helped push through a state-wide ballot initiative that changed the way the land board manages some of its public lands such as those on Emerald Mountain. Traditionally, the land board has been required to sell, lease or manage public lands in a manner that makes the most money.
"Because of Ben, the State Land Board can now consider other things besides the highest return," said county attorney John Merrill.
Beall is now working with other residents to preserve Emerald Mountain permanently from major development.
Colleagues say those are just a few of Beall's contributions.
"That's what you'll find out about Ben he approached everything he did as commissioner with a passion," said Bob White, director of Routt County's Human Services. "He probably put in more hours than most two people on their jobs."