Growth in Hayden is inevitable, the town's mayoral and trustee candidates agreed Thursday during a forum at Hayden Town Hall.
The four trustee candidates and two mayor candidates appeared at the forum. The election is Tuesday.
The forum was moderated by Steamboat Pilot & Today city editor Brent Boyer.
Former mayor Richard "Fest-us" Hagins and current Town Board trustee Joe Schminkey are running for mayor.
Four candidates are running for three Town Board seats. They are former trustee Jim Haskins, Mayor Chuck Grobe, Tom Rogalski and Andrea Hayden. Rogalski and Hayden are Hayden planning commissioners.
"As for trying to keep a small-town atmosphere, unfortunately there are some aspects we won't be able to keep," Schminkey said.
Hagins was slightly more optimistic.
"I think we can keep that small-town feel and get some of our businesses growing," he said.
A question about constructing a sports complex in Hayden had candidates speculating about possible benefits. It left other candidates with little to say about the issue because there have been no formal proposals.
Hagins compared it to a business venture in which the advantages and disadvantages must be weighed.
"Until we get all the hard numbers down, I'm not going to say whether it's good or bad for Hayden," Hagins said.
Haskins made it clear he would support an athletic complex only if it was not a burden to the town.
"If it supports itself and helps the schools out and is available to everyone in town, that's something else," Haskins said. "But we're sure not seeing that."
Some of the candidates also gave specific examples of things they would like to address.
Haskins, along with other candidates, stressed the importance of maintaining and monitoring infrastructure.
"I don't have any priorities," said Schminkey, who said he thinks it is important to treat all issues coming before the town equally.
Andrea Hayden said she wanted to focus on lowering taxes, promoting efficiency in the town government and ensuring the safety and welfare of children and elderly people.
"I believe that there are taxes we are currently paying that were established years ago that we're still paying," Hayden said.
The forum also allowed audience members to ask questions.
"I hear from kids here that there is nothing to do here but stand at the Kum & Go and maybe go to Steamboat," said Jim Payne, who said more programs should be developed for children and teenagers.
"The kids and the parents need to drive these programs," Rogalski said.
This also led to a dissatisfaction among the candidates about the level of involvement in town activities from most of the people who live in Hayden.
Grobe said the number of people who are involved in the school and community needs to increase.
"We want to try to attract younger families -- not just the people who are going to buy a summer or vacation home," Grobe said.
The candidates all supported constructing a central vocational program in Hayden that could be used by children throughout the region.