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Housing, infrastructure among key issues on Bayfield voters’ minds in Tuesday’s election

Ashleigh Tarkington and Tom Au competing in 2024 mayoral race
Lori Edwards casts her ballot Tuesday in the Bayfield mayoral election as election judge David Lovell looks on at Town Hall. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

BAYFIELD – As the town of Bayfield looks to grow in the coming years, multiple related topics come to mind.

Housing, infrastructure, parks, just to name a few at the forefront.

Incumbent Mayor Ashleigh Tarkington and Board of Trustees member Tom Au vied for the mayoral seat in this municipal election. Four board spots were also up for grabs.

Lori Zazzaro, who just ended her four-year term on the board of trustees, said she voted for Tarkington because of issues like workforce housing.

Lori Edwards celebrates with election judges Josh Joswick and Pam Joswick, after the town clerk found her name in the Bayfield voter registry on Tuesday before she votes in the Bayfield mayoral election at Town Hall. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

“I want everyone to be able to live in the town where they work. The more people you have here, the more opportunities, the more commercial (there would be). You might see more restaurants,” she said. “I believe in civic duty, and I believe in coming out and being a part of the whole process. … Our town is very diverse, and so I just want to make sure that my opinion matters and my vote counts.”

Bayfield resident Ryan Sower said property rights were the main driving force in his decision to vote, although he declined to say who he voted for.

Brad and Lorraine Taylor bring their children, Caroline, 8, and Savannah, 3, to vote in the Bayfield mayoral election on Tuesday at Town Hall. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

“We’re looking at some major growth in the next five to 10 years. (I) just want to make sure it’s done properly,” he said, adding he hopes the town will be strategic and look at the bigger picture when it comes to property lots.

Tim Falconer and Keith McSweeney, both of whom declined to say who they voted for in the mayoral race, honed in on the town needing a long-term infrastructure plan to better accommodate affordable housing.

“You’ve got to have the ground work before you can put the structures up,” Falconer said, adding the person he voted for was open to improving infrastructure. “If you don’t have water and you don’t have sewer, you’re going to overwhelm what’s down the road. … The whole sewage and water supply for Bayfield is in need of an overhaul. We’ve outgrown it.”

McSweeney said it’s important to expand the sewer and water systems so they can handle any new incoming houses.

“When we have our big storms in Bayfield, the neighborhoods get flooded out. The town needs to address those issues before the expansions of the new subdivisions,” he said.

Lori Edwards, who declined to say who she voted for, said one issue prompting her to vote is seeing the town clean the walking paths of oak brush in the Eagle Park area to help that part of town become more accessible.

“I just wanted a mayor that’d make good choices for the town,” Edwards said. “I want more for Bayfield. … I want more amenities, I want a nicer grocery store, I want the parks to look better.”


Kelly Polites said government continuity and economic growth via projects like the Cinnamon Heights development compelled her to vote for Tarkington.

“I appreciate the way she thinks and the way she leads and the way she brings the board together,” Polites said, adding that housing can help bring tax dollars to improve the town’s parks and trails.

In-person voting ended at 7 p.m. Tuesday.


Lorraine Taylor’s children, Caroline, 8, and Savannah, 3, look over her ballot as she votes in the Bayfield mayoral election Tuesday at Town Hall. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

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