Cheek leaving Ridgway Town Council

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Council also scheduled to discuss budget, cell tower regulations, old jail relocation and more on Wednesday

  • Tessa Cheek, courtesy Tessa Cheek
    Tessa Cheek, courtesy Tessa Cheek
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This week’s Ridgway Town Council meeting will be the last for councilor Tessa Cheek, who is resigning from the board as of Nov. 30 and plans to move to San Francisco.

Cheek said she reluctantly resigned from her position after deciding to move from Ridgway for family reasons. She plans on continuing to work remotely for Bluecorn Beeswax, the local candle manufacturer, but cannot remain in her elected position as a non-resident once her home sells.

“This was not what I was planning or was hoping for but it’s what’s necessary for my family at this time,” she said in a phone interview Monday.

Cheek’s departure leaves two openings – one on the town council and another on the planning commission. “I learned so much in both positions and really came to have such a deep and profound level of respect for the town’s staff and other elected officials,” she said.

Cheek, who joined the council in April 2019, said she was most proud of working with the council and town staff to accomplish several projects. Those included adjusting the town water rates, adopting the town’s new master plan and new zoning codes to encourage more diversity in housing, obtaining funding for Space to Create and hiring new Town Manager Preston Neill.

During her tenure, Cheek advocated for protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including public education campaigns for visitors and she was a strong voice for the arts.

This was Cheek’s first foray into public service but it might not be her last.

After her previous experience as a public interest journalist who wrote about politics at the state level, she said serving on the town council strengthened her belief in democracy and the power of local government.

She said she feels the town is in good hands, though she hates to leave a place she loves.

“Ridgway will only continue to be more and more special in all kinds of ways,” she said.

Cheek’s vacancy on the council could be filled by the current council, they could advertise the position or they could leave it open until the next election in April, according to Town Clerk Pam Kraft.

Her position on the planning commission is reserved for a member of council. The mayor sits on the planning commission and makes appointments to the planning commission seats, including five members from the public and one member from council.

This week’s council agenda also includes a site visit to the Ridgway Visitor Center at 4:30 p.m. before the online meeting to examine plans for the proposed Ridgway Heritage Park & Visitor Center, a proposed addition to municipal code for small-cell towers, a discussion about relocating the old Ridgway jail from behind the firehouse, a presentation of the town’s draft budget for 2021 and a proposal to install a public honeybee apiary at a yet-to-be-determined location, in the hopes of earning Ridgway the designation of Bee City USA and providing public education.

For the meeting agenda and supporting documents, click here.