Your Turn 

Dealing with reality

click to enlarge Mark Morland
  • Mark Morland

I would like to respond to the Independent's Sept. 27 article ("Three-for-all," News) regarding my decision to step down as a candidate for mayor of Manitou Springs.

For 10 years, I have been honored to serve on the Manitou Springs City Council. It has been a privilege to represent the citizens of this wonderful community and work to make our city an enviable place to live.

I am proud of our city's support for environmental issues, including expansion of open-space funds, voter approval for construction of Manitou Skatepark, and for community support of the Mineral Springs Watershed Protection Ordinance.

One of my favorite things to talk about is sustainability. This year, Manitou Springs City Council agreed that we will measure and reduce our city's greenhouse gas emissions through our membership in ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, an international organization dedicated to local governments acting together toward the goal of environmental sustainability.

The city has been an important partner in good regional planning, including helping to form and guide the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA), which is dedicated to the maintenance and capital investment in our road infrastructure.

We also have a seat on the Fountain Creek Vision Task Force, with its emphasis on mechanisms to improve water quality throughout our region.

I am proud of our voter approval for the Downtown Redevelopment Project, which will continue to improve the walkability and the beauty of our city, as block by block, the utility lines are buried and new sidewalks and medians are installed.

We have revised our planning ordinance to emphasize and acknowledge that Manitou Springs is a community that is not automobile-dependent, and that historic setbacks and mixed-use development of retail and residential space add to our quality of life.

Finally, City Council has revised the historic preservation ordinance to protect the architectural assets that are unique to Manitou Springs and that are now protected for future generations.

I care passionately about our community, but it is true that my time and my ability to serve will be limited to the few months that are left in 2007, until a new mayor is sworn in this coming January.

I will not be a candidate for the office of mayor of Manitou Springs in the November election.

Huntington's disease, a neurodegenerative disorder, took my father's life at the age of 56 and it appears to have affected me as well. There are early symptoms I can no longer ignore which will gradually intensify over a very long period of time.

This is what I would like to say to the Independent and to my friends and neighbors:

Some may think I have caught a bad break. But, like Lou Gehrig, I feel that I am the luckiest man alive. I wouldn't trade a minute of the wonderful life I have with my wife and my daughter and the time I have spent with my fellow citizens on issues that are important to our city.

I thank the voters of Manitou Springs for giving me the opportunity to serve.

Mark Morland, who also grew up in Manitou Springs, has served 10 years on the Manitou City Council and the past year as mayor after being appointed to replace Marcy Morrison when she left to become the state insurance commissioner.

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