Breckenridge’s new town manager may not have the most conventional background, but his years with the town have prepared him for the tasks to come. Originally pursuing a career in law enforcement, Rick Holman was hired as the town’s chief of police in 2001 by former town manager Tim Gagen.
“One thing I’ve always liked about Breckenridge — we don’t operate in silos,” Holman said. “That provides a diverse opportunity to understand the different components of local government.”
In 2012, Holman was appointed to assistant town manager. With former town manager Tim Gagen stepping down in January, after 16 years with the town, Homan stepped up to the task.
“He has mentored me. I have watched, observed and taken notes,” Holman said of working under Gagen. “We’re positioned to do great things. It’s an energetic, exciting time to be a part of this.”
Looking to the town’s future, Holman’s focus will be on workforce housing projects, improved transportation infrastructure, and a continuation of the town’s childcare resources. He also looked forward to the completion of Breckenridge’s arts district.
While Breckenridge has plans for several affordable housing projects in the near future, one of the most heavily discussed is the “Block 11” plan, with discussions going back to 2007.
The site of the current satellite lot, a source of free parking on busy weekends, a 25.4-acre parcel of land is planned to house between 95 and 100 rental units.
“One of these may start this summer,” Holman said. “They have to prepare that whole piece of land for future development.”
In a meeting with Breckenridge Ski Resort at the beginning of the month, the town discussed moving the 500 parking spaces it has committed to provide to another location, sharing Colorado Mountain College’s parking as a temporary solution. Across from Coyne Valley, the McCain property includes space earmarked for parking.
“We always need a reservoir for extra parking in the town,” Holman said.
While the town and the resort have some different interests in the type of housing that will be available, both recognize the need for affordable housing. For instance, most residents of the town would prefer long-term rentals, while resort employees would need more seasonal rentals for when work peaks in the winter, but tapers off during shoulder season.
“We’re not always on the same page, but most of the time we are,” Holman said of the resort. “By reaching out and wanting to have a regular meeting with council, they’re taking the first step. … I look forward to building that relationship further.”
In addition to the Block 11 discussions, Breckenridge is looking to expand on a few current projects. Work is currently underway for Pinewood Village II, an expansion of the current affordable housing apartment complex. The town is also in discussions with the county to create a workforce housing development at the former location of the recycle center, as well as an expansion to the Wellington Neighborhood.
“Council has committed that it is time for action, not studying, and we have studied it well,” Holman said. “It takes time — we need it tomorrow and you can’t do it that fast.”
With regards to childcare, the town recently committed additional funds to continue its scholarship program for at least three years. The program allocates need-based scholarships to families with children ages five and under who will attend one of Breckenridge’s licensed preschools.
“We know there needs to be long-term, sustainable funding,” Holman said. “We want people who work here to live here, and enjoy everything about it.”
With his years as assistant town manager, Holman said he was prepared to lead the town’s efforts.
“There’s been a learning curve,” he laughed. But ultimately, he gives credit to the town staff.
“They work tirelessly to accomplish all this stuff,” Holman said. “It’s important.”