In this first episode of Beaconites!, Randy reviews Beacon’s changes during his lifetime, including the boom years (1950s-60s), the bust years (1970s-80s) and the revitalization.
He also talks about the development issue, the significance of Dia:beacon, congestion and infrastructure. On development, Randy makes the case for aggressive expansion, even as he acknowledges the issue contributed to his election loss.
“I knew our infrastructure was old and had to be upgraded and I knew it was costly,” he says. “Over the eight years, we spent more than $68 million while tax rates were going down, the fund balance was building, and we were allowed to do that because of development. To me that’s one of the biggest things that still needs to go forward.”
There are 929 new or in-development condo units in Beacon that can house around 2,300 new residents. Randy draws a direct line from expanded tax revenue from those developments to the city’s aging infrastructure problem. He says the city still needs to spend hundreds of millions on infrastructure, unsexy as it is.
Can Beacon afford it? “They’re going to have to afford it because it needs to be done.”
What about the appearance of the condos? “You put 10 architects in a room, you have 10 different opinions. I don’t get into that.”
Is Beacon too crowded? “People say our Main Street is congested because of development. I totally disagree. Our Main Street is congested Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday because of tourism. Do you want to stop tourism?”
Randy says he lost the election for two reasons. One reason is party politics. Randy belongs to the Independence Party, but he was endorsed by the Republican party. He says the anti-Trump movement washed him out when people reflexively voted along the Democratic line. Second was the development issue.
What’s next for Randy? “I don’t know. I’ve got to do something because I’ve been active my whole life.
He adds, “I can’t thank the public enough for giving me an opportunity of a lifetime. When I was young, I had mentors who coached me that went on to be mayor of the city. I always wanted to be coach and I always wanted to be a mayor, and the people of Beacon gave me that opportunity.”