Friday, February 7, 2014

Hailey public works director resigns

Tom Hellen leaving longtime post for Colorado job

Express Staff Writer

    Hailey Public Works Director and City Engineer Tom Hellen announced his resignation to Hailey city officials this week after securing a new post in Johnstown, Colo.  
    “I have mixed emotions. It’s been 14 years and a lot has happened to me here,” Hellen said. “I am definitely going to miss Hailey and the Wood River Valley. It has not been an easy decision.”
    Hellen has been the city engineer for Hailey since 1999, and the public works director since 2007. During his 14-year tenure, he implemented the 2002 Water Master Plan, which resulted in an EPA grant for installation of water meters, a three-year project; oversaw construction of the Quigley water storage tank; and completed the construction of water main lines in the city.
    Under Mayor Fritz Haemmerle’s direction, Hellen began a new Water Master Plan that emphasizes the importance of conjunctive management of surface and groundwater use within the city, conserving water, and implementing improved irrigation systems within Hailey’s park infrastructure.
    “It will be interesting to see what happens with conjunctive management,” said Hellen. “But with Mayor Haemmerle’s knowledge of water rights, we will be in a better position that some cities that have not prepared.”
    Hellen also oversaw the development of several new parks, including Keefer Park, Old Cutters Park and Wertheimer Park, which consists of an arena, a skateboard park, an ice skating facility and a visitor center.  
    Hellen oversaw establishing the infrastructure for more than 20 subdivisions, and acted as the project engineer for the Woodside Boulevard project.
    Roy Lauricello, town manager of Johnstown, said in a news release that Hellen was one of 32 applicants who was eventually selected from a finalist pool of two.
   “Tom’s qualifications and experience enforces the confidence I have in his ability to fulfill this key staff position,” he said.
    Johnstown is a city about 12,000 people northeast of Boulder, Colo.
    The city has launched a search for a new appointed city engineer. Hailey plans to utilize a contract engineer to work on limited projects and development in the interim.  
    Haemmerle will assign the role of public works operations director to current city staff member Mariel Platt, who was formerly Hailey’s sustainability coordinator.

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