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Palisade Mayoral Candidate Greg Mikolai Shares Thoughts, Views, Opinions Prior To Electoral Contest

Greg Mikolai

The Palisade Post sent questionnaires to all the candidates running for office in the upcoming municipal election. Greg has responded to our questions, and we are happy to publish them here, before the upcoming “Meet the Candidates” Forum hosted by the Palisade Chamber of Commerce on February 28.

We will publish all candidate responses as they are received, before February 28, 2024.

The Palisade Post would love to see everyone in Palisade be well informed about their local candidate choices, and we encourage everyone to vote on April 2, 2024.

The Palisade Post: How long have you lived in Palisade? Tell us how you came to live here. Can you give us some insight about yourself as a person, your interests, hobbies, family/friends?

Greg Mikolai: I’ve made Palisade my home for thirty years. I moved from Minnesota for an employment opportunity. I met my wife Kellie Cather through our participation in community theater. Kellie passed away from cancer in 2018. Our two sons attended Taylor Elementary, Mount Garfield Middle School and Palisade High School before going on to graduate from Colorado Mesa University.

I ran for the District 51 School Board in 2009 and served two terms, four years as President of the board.

I enjoy wood-working, photography, and a variety of outdoor recreations.

I am in a wonderful relationship with Eva Geske.

The Palisade Post: Can you tell us about occupations you’ve had?

Greg Mikolai: My career in television spans forty years, so it’s a varied resume. In the last twenty-five years I held positions as a technical writer for 3D Systems, Inc., producer for KRMJ-TV, Rocky Mountain PBS, and Instructor and Video Producer for Colorado Mesa University for the last twelve years.

The Palisade Post: What are some things you think Palisade does well? Why do you like living here?

Greg Mikolai: The Board of Trustees and the town administration have worked hard to create a welcoming and safe community. In the last four years we improved infrastructure, multimodal travel, and recreation opportunities. The town is responsive to citizen needs and business interests. Palisade offers so much to its residents in regards to its environment, vibrance, and amenities.

The Palisade Post: Why are you running for Mayor?

Greg Mikolai: I want to continue the great work and progress we’ve made over the last four years. Palisade now boasts a new, state of the art clinic, refurbished entrance of Highway 6 with expanded multimodal transportation opportunities, greater safety through increased investment in our police and fire departments, and solid financial position. These advancements occurred through leadership, collaboration, and relationships built by the Board of Trustees and myself. There are opportunities and challenges for the Town of Palisade, and my leadership style and temperament position me as the best choice to continue the town’s advancement in the future.

The Palisade Post: What do you think are the big issues or challenges Palisade is presently facing?

Greg Mikolai: Palisade faces three projects in the near future that require strong leadership and vision. First, the sewer project, involving a five-mile line to the Clifton Sanitation District. Communication is necessary to ensure this vital and required project proceeds smoothly. Second, rewriting our land use codes to ensure that zoning protects our sense of community and provides for economic development to bolster our tax base. Third, infrastructure improvements for our streets and sidewalks. Palisade wants safe travel, whether it’s auto, bike or foot.

The Palisade Post: How are you presently involved in the community of Palisade?

Greg Mikolai: I’ve served as a Trustee or Mayor of Palisade for the last six years. Before that I represented District E, which includes Palisade, as a District 51 Board member and president for eight years. Eva and I volunteer for the Bluegrass Festival every year.

The Palisade Post: What things do you think would promote economic development in Palisade?

Greg Mikolai: Our land use code needs updating to envision where business opportunities most appropriately utilize the strengths of Palisade, such as its agricultural-tourism characteristics. These should include protecting existing orchard and vineyard acreages, creating buffer areas between residential and business zones, and ensuring businesses are not overburdened by regulatory constraints.

The Palisade Post: What intrigues you about Palisade’s history? How does it apply to Palisade’s future?

Greg Mikolai: One item that intrigues me is the development and evolution of irrigation within the town limits. Uncertainty and confusion pervade much of the history of the laterals running underneath our streets. The town is presently working to map existing laterals and valves throughout our community since taking over the management of the irrigation infrastructure from Palisade Pipes and Laterals. It’s vital that we reach as many homes as possible with irrigation for lawns and gardens to alleviate strain on our domestic water supply for those purposes. This ensures Palisade water, the best in the state, remains plentiful for our citizens.

The Palisade Post: What do you see (or would you like to see) in Palisade’s future? What would you do to guide/direct it?

Greg Mikolai: I would like to see more multimodal transportation infrastructure for our citizens. Walking and biking promote a healthier and safer community. This means prioritizing infrastructure improvements to streets most in need of resurfacing with intent of improved sidewalks along those routes.

The Palisade Post: Some would suggest there is a housing shortage or lack of affordable housing in and around Palisade? What are your thoughts about housing?

Greg Mikolai: Palisade faces a constraint for housing with its one-square mile footprint. There is very little property within the town limits that allow for appropriate development. In-fill presents some intriguing possibilities, but would not be that expansive. Properties just outside of the town limits present the best possibilities for development, but we must be careful that projects of that nature do not crowd our boundary and strain our infrastructure unnecessarily. This means communication to the county, which would have authority over such developments, to express our concerns and visions for the benefit of our citizens.

The Palisade Post: A prominent Palisade resident once said, “In the west, when you touch water, you touch everything.” What are your thoughts on both municipal and irrigation water in and around Palisade?

Greg Mikolai: Wayne Aspinall would be proud of the efforts we are making to ensure our domestic water supply is secure. These involve the addition of two new reservoirs on the Grand Mesa to augment Cabin Reservoir. Also, the town took over the management of the laterals that feed irrigation in parts of our community. The long-term goal is to make irrigation available to every Palisade resident who wants it. This ensures that domestic water is used appropriately, which diminishes the strain on available reserves.

The Palisade Post: Can you share your thoughts about the ongoing costs and challenges of maintaining municipal infrastructure?

Greg Mikolai: Street, building, and park maintenance is expensive. To continue to provide the best living conditions for our citizens, of which municipal infrastructure is a big part, the town must plan and prioritize appropriately. Although the town enjoys a strong financial position at the moment, a careful and thoughtful approach to spending capital funds on infrastructure improvement ensures that our public facilities provide the best experience for residents and visitors.

The Palisade Post: What are the options for increasing the amount of revenue available for the town budget? What do you think are the best ways to grow town revenue?

Greg Mikolai: The likely option to sustain our good financial position is an increase in sales tax revenue. This means working with our land use code to provide opportunities to likely business owners and entrepreneurs. Too much of our retail engagement for the town occurs to the business centers to our west. We must seek prospects to fill daily needs, such as regular auto maintenance, within our town limits.

The Palisade Post: Anything else you would like to add?

Greg Mikolai: It has been my pleasure and honor to serve the Town of Palisade as mayor for the last four years. We have so many opportunities ahead of us to keep our community vital and strong, and I would encourage voters to return me to office to continue the leadership and vision that brought so much progress over the last four years.