Mayor Sloan passes the baton

Term-limited Marjorie Sloan reflects on her time as Golden’s mayor

Christy Steadman
csteadman@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 1/14/20

Marjorie Sloan remembers the day perfectly: It was a “beautiful, blue-sky day” and Lions Park was filled with people. On that day in September of 2012, former President Barack Obama became the …

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Mayor Sloan passes the baton

Term-limited Marjorie Sloan reflects on her time as Golden’s mayor

Posted

Marjorie Sloan remembers the day perfectly: It was a “beautiful, blue-sky day” and Lions Park was filled with people.

On that day in September of 2012, former President Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to visit Jefferson County since Ulysses S. Grant — and Grant’s visit was before Colorado became a state in August 1876.

“It was the most amazing thing,” Sloan said.

Obama’s visit might have been one of the most exciting moments Sloan experienced during her time as mayor, but her accomplishments in the past eight years have helped shape what Golden is today.

MORE: Meet the newly sworn 2020 Golden City Council

Namely, the Golden Plan, which is a highway plan for the future. The first implementation was a construction project at the intersection of U.S. 6 and 19th Street called Linking Lookout. It was completed in fall 2017.

The second project for the Golden Plan is in design stages. It will take place near U.S. 6 and Heritage Road.

Sloan “showed tremendous leadership in negotiating the (Golden Plan) with CDOT,” said mayor-elect Laura Weinberg who currently sits on city council representing Ward 4. “These efforts are enduring and will continue to improve Golden long into the future.”

Sloan, 75, moved to Golden in 1976 with her husband Dendy, who had accepted a job at the Colorado School of Mines, and their two young children.

“It was just as friendly and charming as it is now,” Sloan said. “Golden gives people a sense of belonging. That was here when we arrived.”

Sloan had a career in law — first working in commercial litigation, then as a staff attorney with the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit — until she was elected mayor in 2011 and retired.

But Sloan’s service to community began well before then.

In the early 1990s, Sloan served on the first volunteer board of the Golden Urban Renewal Authority (GURA). At that time, GURA’s main focus was getting Washington Avenue’s streetscape established, Sloan said.

Then, in the early 2000s, Sloan was appointed to Golden’s Planning Commission and served nearly two terms before she had to resign after being elected to Golden City Council.

Sloan represented District 1 on city council from January 2008 to January 2012.

“When she became mayor, it was the right time for Golden,” said Mike Bestor, former city manager who served from 1993 until he retired in 2015. “She accomplished some strong wins for Golden.”

Bestor pointed to Sloan’s dedication and the hard work she put in to stop the Jefferson Parkway — a proposed high-speed toll road — from cutting through Golden.

Although, perhaps her “grandest quality,” Bestor said of Sloan, is her high level of civil discourse.

“Every citizen that came before council left knowing they are respected,” Bestor said, even if “not always agreed with.”

During her time as mayor, Sloan was involved with Mayors Against Illegal Guns and in 2016, went to the White House for a 50-state convening on the topic.

“I felt that was a real privilege,” Sloan said, adding Golden is active with preventing and reducing gun violence locally, as well as statewide and with the national legislation.

Sloan also chaired the Metro Mayors Caucus in 2018.

But some of Sloan’s favorite experiences as mayor was talking with local school children, she said.

“Getting to meet a mayor was important to them,” Sloan said, “and it was important to me.”

Sloan and the students talked about a variety of topics, ranging from playground equipment to helping the homeless.

“Ice cream also came up a lot,” Sloan said. “And that they love Clear Creek and Splash” Aquatic Park.

Sloan said she would be remiss if she didn’t express gratitude to city staff for its dedication to the community.

“We have a remarkable group working on the things that touch the everyday lives of Golden residents and business-owners,” Sloan said.

While Sloan is certain she’ll remain civically involved in some way — pointing out she has an interest in transit and transportation — it may be on a state or national level in the future, she said.

For now, she is taking the advice of Michael Nutter, a term-limited mayor in Philadelphia.

“He says, `being mayor is like running a relay race,’” Sloan said. “`You pass the baton and get off the track.’”

Sloan added that she believes decision-makers across the state look to Golden as a “sensible, collaborative and forward-thinking community.”

And she is looking forward to watching and admiring the next city council and mayor, Sloan said.

“They’ll do a great job.”

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