Goodbye and welcome

The county commissioners said goodbye to Mike Brazell (left) who served two terms as district one commissioner. Amy Mitchell (second from left) was sworn in for her first term as district one commissioner Jan. 12. Dick Elsner (second from right) was sworn in for his second term as commissioner district two. Commissioner district three Ray Douglas is on the right. (Photo courtesy of Park County)

Before the swearing in of Amy Mitchell as the new district one commissioner Jan. 12, Mike Brazell gave a heart-felt goodbye, ending his eight years as district one county commissioner.

Brazell said the commissioners’ job is to set policy and direction, plus being a cheer leader.

Brazell thanked the staff saying they were truly amazing, doing the hard work and making his job smooth and easy.

He said he enjoyed learning about how government works and now understands why it takes so long to get anything done. Government must be mindful and take thoughtful consideration before spending the people’s tax dollars.

Brazell said most people don’t realize just how special of a place Park County is. For example, not many counties meet in a building at 10,000 feet elevation surrounded by five peaks over 14,000 feet.

“That is so rare on this planet,” Brazell said, “Please protect what we have.”

He said people are always talking about our differences in different areas of the county, but we really have more in common than we have in differences.

Brazell said people move here for the same reasons: open spaces and the wildlife.

“Please protect that which doesn’t have a voice,” Brazell said.

Brazell told The Flume that before starting on his next venture, he wanted take some R and R time in an RV and look for more natural wonders.

He said he may also do some broadband consulting, if something came up that didn’t take too much time.

Commissioner Dick Elsner thanked him for getting broadband started in the county, applying for state grants to make it happen and also serving on a state broadband board.

“You were a dynamo at the start and you continued to be one. It’s been a pleasure working with you,” Assistant County Manager Cindy Gharst said.

Clerk Debra Greene thanked Brazell for putting up with her for eight years and for his efforts in getting the new county building, especially for a secure elections room for the clerk’s office.

Commissioner Ray Douglas thanked Brazell for his service and commitment to Park County.

 “I’ve got big shoes to fill,” Amy Mitchell said after being sworn in as district one commissioner.

As a fifth generation Coloradoan, she said her heart has always been in the mountains.

“My ancestors worked their tails off before this was a state to make a home here. I’ll give everything I have to protect it and keep it as pristine as it is now,” Mitchell said.

Elsner was sworn in for his second term as commissioner district 2.

“This is a gorgeous place to live and a gorgeous place to serve, Elsner said.

He said driving through Platte Canyon at this time of year is gorgeous with ice glistening everywhere. Then going over Kenosha Pass almost takes his breath away, he said.

Douglas welcomed Mitchell to the board and said he was excited to serve with her.

“Your enthusiasm will be marvelous,” Douglas said.

Spring Hotel/Moynahan home

James Moynahan and his new wife came to Colorado from Michigan in 1866.

Moynahan’s great great granddaughter published the diaries he kept during the war which told of his experiences and his injuries. He enlisted as a private and retired in 1865 as a captain.

With experience working in copper mines and graduating from college after the Civil War, he managed several mines, including the Orphan Boy, and started several successful businesses, first in Buckskin Joe, then many of the early businesses in Alma.

The home he purchased in Buckskin Joe was moved to Alma in 1874. He expanded the house into a hotel.

The family’s living quarters on the second floor had its own entrance and stairway, separate from the hotel. The home became a boarding house in the 1920s.

Moynahan was not just a business man. He also served on the first Alma Board of Trustees and three terms as mayor, on the school board, as a county commissioner and two terms as a senator in the Colorado Legislature.

He also sponsored the Alma volunteer fire department and was the postmaster for over 25 years.

The home survived six fires, beginning in 1905 and ending in the 1937 fire in Alma that destroyed most early buildings. Several remaining buildings were moved to South Park City in the 1950s.

The home and outbuildings are some of the few original buildings remaining in Alma. The property stayed in the family until 2018 when it was sold at the tax sale.

According to the nomination package, Alma resident Mark McCabe purchased the property in 2019 and began the process of preserving the house with hopes to reactivate the site in the future.

The commissioners said McCabe wrote most of the expansive and detailed nomination package that covers the early history of Alma, as well as of Moynahan

The commissioners approved nominating the Spring Hotel/Moynahan Home to the national register Jan. 14.

The commissioners approved the Victims Advocacy through Law Enforcement (VALE) grant for $22,000. The state grant is awarded through the judicial districts to provide part of the salaries for each county’s victims’ services department.

Vouchers were approved for $171,350. Dollars were rounded by The Flume.

The general fund had most of the expenses at $112,750. Public works spent $22,460. Fleet services spent $18,340 and human services spent $14,680.

The remaining $3,000 was spent in varying amounts by the conservation trust, sales tax trust and grant funds.

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