(1948 - )
Originally from Mamaroneck, NY. Graduated from Washington and Lee in Lexington, VA as an English major. Arrived in Colorado in 1969 and found his way to Evergreen in 1971.
Peter had two loves in his life: his wife, Peggy, and working with wood. He'd never pounded a nail until he worked for Byron Angevine framing houses at $1.70/hour. His fear of heights caused him to look into another facet of woodworking; he was hired by Woden Woods in Denver, producing small kitchen products and eventually creating custom cabinetry. "I took to it like a fish to water," he said with a smile.
He soon became a partner and then took over full ownership of the firm in 1993. From a modest staff of 6, it peaked at 20 people during the best of times, competing for (and winning) some of the most high-end, custom woodworking jobs throughout the state. Peter often worked 12- to 16-hour days, whatever it took to achieve excellence for his clients.
His college education, though unrelated, served him well in the trade, providing a comfort level in conversing with high-achieving leaders in the corporate world who could afford his artistry in custom cabinetry, designer furniture, and finish carpentry. His skills with language and relationships made him their equal.
He learned that the only way to be a part of the community was to volunteer because he was gone all day. Between 1985 and '88, he served on the Planned Living Environment Association of South Evergreen (PLEASE) fighting for proper development in the south Evergreen area (ENABLE represented that portion of Evergreen north of the lake). Once he and Peggy began having children, they became more and more active in their surroundings.
His early friendship with Hank Alderfer caused Hank to approach Peter about being on the Evergreen Park and Recreation District (EPRD) board prior to construction of the Lakehouse. Hank recognized the need to have someone on the board who knew construction. In 1992 it only took 350 votes to claim a seat on the 5-person board, and Peter attributed Peggy's reputation as a childbirth educator as the reason for his getting elected. During his first term, he came to realize that he could really be of service and could make a difference in the community.
He suggested the formation of and chaired the Citizens Field Advisory Committee, an ad hoc committee spawned from citizens unhappy about the lack of quality playing fields in the mountain area. Recommendations by the committee for potential fields and improvements identified in the early 1990s have weathered the decades with high regard, largely unchanged 20 years later.
Peter served for 12 years on the EPRD board, from 1992 to 2004, at which time term limits that went into effect during that tenure kept him from serving longer. He was president for four of those years.
In the late 1990s he was an advocate for turning the Alderfer Barn (at Alderfer Three Sisters Park) into an arts center, a study for which determined it to be an impractical idea for structural reasons.
Not only did he work closely with contractors in building the Lakehouse, but his personal touches are evident today: the massive front doors he built to complement the large log structure and the maple countertops that grace the kitchen area were of his own hand.
"Those were tremendous growth years," he recalled. "EPRD had a lot of buy-in with the community."
The saving of Noble Meadow in 1994 (initiated by MALT) represented a pivotal point in EPRD's stature in the community. For the first time it would own real estate, as both the original rec center and the lakehouse were built on land owned by the school district and the City of Denver, respectively. Having EPRD as a key partner of a three-pronged approach for acquiring Noble Meadow, was integral in preventing the development of 408 acres along Squaw Pass Road with 238 homes. After an appeal from Dan Pike and Tandy Jones, Peter became the first advocate on the EPRD board for supporting such expansion. (see history by clicking here)
The 15 acres acquired by EPRD for ball fields and the Buchanan Recreation Center for $700,000, combined with community buy-in with $200,000 in private contributions, cinched the deal with the previously resistant Jefferson County Open Space Committee (OSAC) that funded the additional $1.4 million. All aspects of the deal – including a bond issue with a 96% voter approval – would be accomplished in record time, just five months.
Within a decade, EPRD would acquire considerably more land and play a leadership role as the only local governmental agency capable of representing the community to interact with OSAC and being the conduit for grants payable only through intergovernmental agreements. Peter played a leadership role in pressing fellow board members for purchase of land and negotiated purchase agreements in acquiring several properties that would become Buchanan Park. It was his proudest achievement.
A bond issue was necessary to purchase land for the ball fields and Evergreen's second rec center in 1994; another bond issue was necessary to purchase land for the "Lutheran" acreage (11 acres) and other properties in 2000, eliminating the possibility for commercial development in what is now Buchanan Park.
Peter played an important role in building trust and putting a face on the district.
He served on the Building Committee for the Buchanan Rec Center with Hank Alderfer and Dick Wulf, and he was a proponent for allowing one of the homes that would have been torn down on acquired property to be used as an arts center in a $1/year 5-year lease.
"I did things individually but not alone," he would say in reflection. Building consensus was his mode of operation.
His love for the arts went hand-in-hand with a vision for parks and recreation. Barbara and Eugene Sternberg had approached him to be an advocate for the arts prior to placement of the first sculpture at the Lakehouse in 1995. During his time as president of the board he influenced the acquisition of the girl-on-bike sculpture in front of the Buchanan Rec Center.
Concurrently with serving on the EPRD board, he was a member of the board of Art for the Mountain Community starting in 1996, serving as its president from 1998-2000, during which time "the Foreman" was acquired for placement in front of the Hiwan Homestead Museum and the Sculpture Walk began.
As a citizen, not a member of the board, he chaired the Executive Committee for the Master Planning process for Buchanan Park over an 18-month period.
Although he was off the EPRD board in 2005, he worked with Citizens for Parks for yet another successful bond issue to acquire additional land for Buchanan Park, to make improvements on ball fields, and to acquire and develop Stagecoach Park.
In 2008 he ran for a seat on the EPRD board once again. Although the downturn in the economy affected the vision for an arts center at Buchanan Park, the Veterans' Commemorative Walk and trails did materialize. He announced that he will not run when his term expires in 2012.
Peter remained an advocate for the arts. "The arts are so vital to this community and our quality of life," he maintains. "Working together creates a vibrant and healthy community."
"It's a matter of enlightened self-interest," he says, referring to the reason people want to buy houses here in Evergreen -- "because of what EPRD and volunteers have done to make it a special place to live."
"I had the privilege of supporting other people's grand ideas," he explains with reference to being tapped by others to champion their visions for Evergreen. The process, along with his innate people skills, turned him into a leader.
He endeavors to excel at whatever he does and works to please the client and the electorate alike. Whether it's custom woodworking or sitting on a board, "it's all about service."
Peter was a member of the inaugural class of Leadeership Evergreen in 1996 and was named Leader of the Year by the group in 2004, the first year for the award.
Peter is one who thrives on being a public servant rather than a public figure and has embraced the many opportunities to be involved in the Evergreen community.