Emil Wanatka, president of Timberline Builders, said he understands the importance of keeping and creating new jobs when he announced his candidacy for the Durango City Council on Wednesday.
Its really humbling to have this show of support and have this many people come out on a pretty cold, snowy day, Wanatka said in front of a crowd of supporters at the La Plata County Courthouse.
Wanatka, past president of both the Homebuilders Association of Southwest Colorado and the Colorado Association of Homebuilders, has served on the boards of directors for both nonprofit and for-profit entities, including Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Affordable Housing Task Force.
The new council will rewrite the citys Land Use and Development Code, and Wanatka said in a news release that the rewrite should not include policies that hinder business development.
Rewriting the land-use code is necessary as it has been 20 years since it was last adjusted, and Wanatka said it no longer accurately reflects the communitys values and culture.
Wanatka, 57, is the third candidate to vie for one of two open seats in the April 5 city election. Anita Sweetie Marbury, who has served on a number of city boards and commissions, announced her candidacy Jan. 17, followed by Dick White, a retired astronomy professor, on Feb. 8.
Outgoing council members Joe Colgan and Mayor Michael Rendon are not running. Colgan replaced Meigs in November after she took a job as magistrate in Montezuma County, and Rendon chose not to run.
Wanatka said his son, Max Wanatka, represents everything he stands for, and illustrates why being a homebuilder is important.
We need to build homes so that our young people can stay and live in this community, Emil Wanatka said. Max has property here, Max owns a business here, and we need to provide those opportunities for our young people.
Amanda Wanatka has also joined the campaign trail and will manage her fathers campaign.
The candidate is a northern Wisconsin native. He moved to Durango 21 years ago. He said working with charitable organizations was one of the driving forces behind the move.
Wanatka is married to Susan Wanatka, who serves as the director of the Campbell Child and Family Center at Fort Lewis College.
The original version of this story had Leigh Meigs as an outgoing council member. Joe Colgan, who filled her seat when she resigned in Nov., is the actual outgoing council member.