The two candidates running to be the mayor of Morrison agree that Morrison needs to remain Morrison, but they differed on how to embrace the future and whether a marijuana dispensary should be allowed in the town.

Angela Bernhardt, who started Morrison’s Alley Fest that was canceled the last couple years because of the pandemic, and Chris Wolfe, who spent 10 years on the town board in the past, answered questions about their priorities during a candidate forum recently.

The election for the town, which has a population of about 400, is from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. April 5. Electors will be voting for mayor and members of the board of trustees, plus ballot measures on whether to allow a marijuana shop within the town limits and, if approved, setting the sales tax rate for the shop.

Bernhardt, with a degree in economics and who turned around the failing Cliff House Lodge, said she’s a huge believer in community involvement, and she wanted the town to host more events such as summer picnics and winter game nights, so neighbors could get to know each other.

Wolfe explained that his past experience on the board of trustees helps him step into the mayor position because he understands what the job entails, noting that it was a team effort between the mayor and board of trustees to make decisions for the town.

Goals for the town

Wolfe said he’d like to see improvements to traffic, parking, the police department and roads, noting that keeping Morrison Morrison shouldn’t entail changing to be like other communities.

“We should keep growth to a minimum,” Wolfe explained. “We don’t want the influence of people who want to change the heart of this town. We need to manage that … so people who visit in 10, 15 years say it’s still the same.”

Wolfe said another issue for the town to consider was preparing in case of wildfire, calling the Marshall Fire in Boulder County a wakeup call for everyone living here.

“We were given a warning since we are in that neck of the woods,” Wolfe said. “It could have been us. We should take a look at that as a board and make decisions to protect our community.”

Bernhardt noted that as much as residents want to keep Morrison a small, eclectic community, the residential development on the east side of C-470 will force change. She wanted the community to discuss how to manage that change while getting those new residents to spend money in the town.

She advocated for more sidewalks to allow pedestrians to get to the town’s attractions such as the Morrison Natural History Museum and events like a farmers market to bring more tourists to the town to help businesses and ultimately bring more revenue into the town.

She suggested that town officials could work with Denver to build a parking garage near C-470 to help solve the area’s parking issues, possibly providing a shuttle or train, adding to the town’s quaintness.

Marijuana shop

Bernhardt said the town should embrace getting a marijuana shop because of the revenue it would bring to town coffers.

“Some people may not agree with that, but the town has lost out on a ton of revenue in the last decade,” she said.

Wolfe said he didn’t favor having a marijuana shop in the town.

“I feel it’s not who our community is as a whole,” Wolfe said. “I know we’re saying no to money, but it’s not always about the money.”

Good for Morrison

Both agreed that they had the time necessary to devote to the mayor position, and they wanted to work collaboratively with the town trustees, business owners and residents.

“We need to protect the future. I want to represent you guys the best I can and to keep Morrison Morrison,” Wolfe told those attending the candidate forum. “I think that’s a great motto to live by. Change is inevitable, but we can minimize it and contain it.”

Bernhardt added: “I know that in my heart I would put my effort to bring everyone together and listen and make a difference. If we can foster community and listen to each other … and hear each other’s heart, we can work stronger as a community.”