As the ballots go out for this long-anticipated Colorado Springs municipal election, and the suspense over who will run our city government finally brings us to the threshold of answers, one person is missing.
Only a few people have known why. Now, though, you'll learn the rest of this sad story.
Four years ago, Greg Timm entered the 2007 city election late as an at-large candidate for City Council. An attorney and developer, he made good impressions and vowed to come back in 2011, ready to make a much bigger difference.
After all, Timm really wasn't new to the local scene. He had moved here in the mid-1980s and quickly tackled a major project. While others focused on other areas up and down the then-pastoral Powers Boulevard corridor, Timm began putting together what would become the sprawling Stetson Hills development — mostly stretching east of Powers and north of Barnes Road.
But for Timm it wasn't just about setting up subdivisions, paving streets and throwing up homes and shopping areas. He wanted more for that area.
Then, in 1987, came the big opportunity. Colorado Springs suddenly had the chance to become the new home of minor-league baseball's Hawaii Islanders, a franchise in the Pacific Coast League.
The wheels had to turn quickly, because California cities like Fresno and Sacramento were interested. With longtime former Mayor Robert Isaac in charge, the first choice looked to be renovating Memorial Park's stadium, but many nearby residents didn't like the idea, fearing that traffic and parking congestion would take away much of their park. No other option in the city's center looked viable, and this was well before spiffy new ballparks started serving as magnets for revitalized downtowns.
Isaac needed a solution — and Timm helped provide it. He had to designate portions of Stetson Hills for parks, so why not turn one of those areas into a baseball stadium? The deal quickly came together, with local businessman Gary Loo providing the construction financing, and soon the Islanders headed this way to become the Sky Sox.
Back then, after the stadium was built in 1988, Stetson Hills still was far from fruition, its progress delayed by the economic downturn of the late 1980s. In those early seasons, baseball fans felt like truly they were in Kansas, sitting in the stands and literally watching antelope prancing around the prairie beyond the outfield walls.
It's totally different now, of course. Developments east of Powers, commercial and residential, eventually exploded. And the Sky Sox ownership continually has upgraded that stadium to make it easily the best asset of northeast Colorado Springs.
Timm has had other involvements as a player on the downtown scene. And he loved it whenever the pro golf tour would come to Castle Pines for the International, because he would spend the week caddying for his famous brother-in-law, former British Open champion Mark Calcavecchia.
After so many years in the background, Timm made that first foray into politics in 2007. Despite his not having run for office, friends urged him to run for mayor — but he refused to challenge Lionel Rivera, who was seeking a second term. Today, people who know Timm wonder what might have been, because Rivera won unimpressively in 2007 and might have lost to a stronger, well-grounded opponent.
Still, Timm made his points in that race. One that I've never forgotten: As much as he supported development, he was highly skeptical of two planned high-rise office buildings on Nevada Avenue, mainly because he was convinced the downtown's fast-aging infrastructure could never handle that extra burden without huge, costly renovations.
After his Council bid failed, he made it known that he planned to come back and run for mayor in 2011.
But he didn't, because life dealt him a bad hand. He's only 56, and he's always been in good physical shape, but a debilitating, degenerative affliction, brain atrophy syndrome, has struck him down. Timm is confined to a wheelchair, unable to speak, but with his intellect still sharp. He's in Phoenix, still fighting the battle against tough odds.
Greg Timm still could have so much to give Colorado Springs.
But he'll need a miracle now to fulfill that promise.