800 to attend Municipal League Conference | SteamboatToday.com

800 to attend Municipal League Conference

Christine Metz

Elected government officials from across the state will descend on Steamboat Springs next week for the annual Colorado Municipal League Conference.

More than 800 people are expected to attend the five-day conference starting Tuesday that will tackle local government issues. CML is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works with cities and towns in Colorado.

The 82nd annual Conference will have as keynote speakers National Civic League President Chris Gates, National Leagues of Cities President Charles Lyons and historian and professor Patricia Limerick.

On Wednesday afternoon, Attorney General Ken Salazar is scheduled to talk about the state’s water issues.

The conference will have breakout sessions that will cover community branding, main street programs, demographic trends, affordable housing, guerrilla marketing, November ballot issues and public transportation projects.

Next week is the first time since 1982 that the conference has been held in Steamboat. CML Executive Director Ken Bueche said the 22-year hiatus was because the community’s facilities were not large enough to accommodate the organization’s numbers. When the facilities grew, Bueche said the executive board decided to return to Steamboat.

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“Our board and members are looking forward to meeting in Steamboat and enjoying our time in the inspiring mountain community,” he said.

Close to 600 municipal, state and federal officials have registered for the conference, and more than 200 sponsors and commercial representatives are registered. The annual conference also draws many family members.

The Wednesday opening session will kick off with Lyons, who will share his visions of leadership and discuss the roles of elected officials and staff. He also will talk about federal issues that affect municipalities.

Limerick will follow Lyons on Wednesday to talk about leadership in the American West and Western issues. Limerick is the chairwoman of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado.

The governor often gives the luncheon keynote speech, but Gov. Bill Owens is unable to attend because he will be at the annual meeting of the Western Governors Association.

Gates will speak at today’s luncheon on “Reinventing democracy at the local level.”

Gates speaks around the world on the changing forms of democracy, citizen participation, community visioning and strategic planning. He works with communities on strategic planning and visioning projects.

“We live in a moment where the concept of democracy is changing. While that can feel slightly unsettling, it is actually quite appropriate in our small democratic tradition to periodically rethink what democracy means to us,” Gates said in describing his presentation.

Those interested in attending the session can register for the event online at http://www.cml.org. The five-day registration fee is $400 for a nonmember and $115 for a one-day pass.

— To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com