Revitalizing downtown goal for Oak Creek mayor during her 5th term | SteamboatToday.com

Revitalizing downtown goal for Oak Creek mayor during her 5th term

Incumbent Nikki Knoebel, left, defeated Bill Auer in the mail-in election for Oak Creek mayor that ends Tuesday.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Nikki Knoebel is optimistic and eager to tackle the challenges she will face during her fifth term as Oak Creek mayor.

On Tuesday, Knoebel won the mayoral election with 75 percent of the vote with 135 votes for Knoebel and 45 votes for Bill Auer.

"I'm just so excited that we have such a great town and really appreciate the support of constituents and the community," Knoebel said.

In Oak Creek, being mayor is a volunteer position, and the time commitment can be considerable.

"I just have so much love for the community that I love to volunteer my time to it," Knoebel said.

The town mailed out 485 ballots, and it received 194 of them back, which means voter turnout was 39 percent.

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Knoebel said she was pleased with the turnout given the mayor position was the only contested race on the ballot.

"It makes me think people care about the community and got out there to vote," Knoebel said.

Auer ran against Knoebel making it the first time Oak Creek has had a contested mayoral race in a decade.

Auer decided to run largely because he disagreed with the town’s recent decision to explore purchasing 200 acres of land with a 4.5-mile trail system.

Knoebel said she was proud of the town's accomplishments during the past eight years she has served as mayor.

The town has built strong summer and after-school programs that Knoebel said have become so popular that they are outgrowing the space at the Oak Creek Community Center.

Many of the programs involve outdoor activities, but Knoebel thinks it might be time to look at future indoor space needs.

Knoebel also wants to build on the success of a major repaving and infrastructure project on Main Street.

There are still empty buildings that Knoebel would like to see filled with thriving businesses. She thinks there should be more of an emphasis placed on economic development.

"After the recession, it was hard, so we want to revitalize Main Street," Knoebel said.

Oak Creek voters still showed their support for town board candidates despite there being no opposition.

Bernard "Bernie" Gagne Jr. received 120 votes, Charles "Chuck" Wisecup received 114 votes and Michael Calvin "Cal" Martindale had 98 votes.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.