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Salida City Administrator Drew Nelson (courtesy photo).

Salida City Council members voted to hire Drew Nelson of Winter Park as the new city administrator following an executive session at the Tuesday, Oct. 2, city council meeting.

Council members Justin Critelli, Dan Shore, Rusty Granzella and Harald Kasper voted to approve Nelson’s employment contract. Mike Bowers abstained from voting, and Mayor Pro Tem Cheryl Brown-Kovacic did not attend the meeting.

Mayor P.T. Wood said Nelson’s contract was negotiated in recent days, and Granzella indicated that Nelson would start work Oct. 8.

For 10 years beginning in 2008, Nelson served as the town manager of Winter Park. In an interview with Ark Valley Voice, he noted several successful projects accomplished during his tenure in Winter Park, including:

  • A public transit system that now carries more than 500,000 people annually.
  • An award-winning mixed-use workforce housing development.
  • A downtown park and entertainment facility inspired by Salida’s Riverside Park.

Prior to becoming the Winter Park town administrator, Nelson worked as the town’s planner for two years. He has also worked as a planner for Jefferson County, the town of Fraser and the city of Greeley.

Nelson made it clear that his top priority is his family and said he is excited about the prospect of living in Salida. He also enjoys boating and looks forward to taking advantage of Salida’s easy access to the Arkansas River.

At the close of the city council meeting, Nelson thanked the mayor and council for the opportunity:

“I’m humbled, and I feel deeply blessed to be representing all of you folks, the staff members and the city council in this position going forward. I’m really excited to get here. … Again, thank you so much.”