Photos by Pam Zubeck
Sallie Clark will bid the county goodbye next month.
El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark took her victory lap before nearly 400 people today at a business luncheon.
Clark will leave office next month after her third four-year term, captured due to a what many felt was a deceptively-worded ballot measure approved by voters that extended term limits. It later was rolled back by voters to two, four-year terms.
Clark's speech recapped accomplishments ranging from improvements of Baptist Road, which raised money through a special district set up in 1997 and was recently dismantled, to housing initiatives, to the soon-to-begin overhaul of West Colorado Avenue commonly referred to as "No Man's Land."
Having survived the Great Recession and two major forest fires — Waldo Canyon in 2012 and Black Forest in 2013 — and the floods that followed, the region is "well positioned for continued growth and prosperity," Clark reported.
The audience generally listened quietly, but one enthusiastic moment came when Clark reminded the crowd that the Clerk and Recorder's Office had opened a branch at Fort Carson, the first of its kind in the country, which proved to be "one of the busiest polling locations" in last month's election.
Clark also recognized the following honorees:
• Economic Development Project of the Year went to the El Paso County Housing Authority for cooperating on affordable housing, including the Springs Rescue Mission campus south of downtown.
• Person of Influence went to Perry Sanders, who rehabilitated the Mining Exchange building into the Wyndham Grand Hotel and recently purchased the Antlers Hotel, where the luncheon was staged and sponsored by the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC.
• Public Employee of the Year went to Roger Lovell, the Pikes Peak Regional Building Official.
Jeri Howells, second from right, with Commissioners Darryl Glenn, left, Peggy Littleton, Dennis Hisey, Sallie Clark, and Mark Waller.
• Making a Difference Award went to former County Commissioner and Mayor of Fountain Jeri Howells, and former County Commissioner, mayor of Manitou Springs and state Insurance Commissioner Marcy Morrison.
Marcy Morrison, second from right, with county commissioners.
• Elected Official of the Year went to Springs City Council President Merv Bennett.
• Clark also named all of the county commissioners she's worked with, as well as other county elected officials and a long list of staffers.
Clark will be replaced next month by Stan VanderWerf.
Dennis Hisey, who also benefitted from the short-lived term limits extension, will be replaced by Longinos Gonzalez Jr.