Grover Pryor was sworn in as Kremmling’s mayor on Wednesday, April 18. At 37 years-old, he is believed to be the youngest mayor in Kremmling’s history.
He follows in the footsteps of his grandmother, Peg Toft, who incidentally was the first (and only) woman to serve as Kremmling’s mayor.
She served as a board member in 1985 and mayor for four terms from 1986-2002 when Kremmling was alive with economic activity.
Peg Toft described the community early in her tenure as a ranching community alive with loggers from the timber industry. Louisiana-Pacific Corp (a waferwood plant known by locals as “LP”) was providing jobs and sales tax was increasing.
The town’s new police station and maintenance building were built, the Town Hall was expanded, another water tower was added, and the town helped to secure housing for seniors in the community with the assisted living center which allows seniors to remain in Kremmling throughout their lives.
Ceriani Park was created and the Wolford Dam was completed in May of 1995.
“I don’t think Kremmling will ever grow a lot but we do have sustainable growth. We have good tourism. Wolford brought a lot of help to the community, and of course, snowmobiling, hunting, fishing and rafting,” recalls Toft who favored the Chamber’s logo of Sportsman’s Paradise.
For her grandson, she says, “Keep the economics going.” She encourages him to continue promoting Kremmling for its endless recreating possibilities citing that 30,000-40,000 rafters were on the river when she was on the board. Now it is estimated to be as many as 60,000 rafters.
She also encourages him to pursue more trails. “I have always wanted to see a trail system between Kremmling, Wolford, and the upper end of the county. We tried but were never successful.”
Toft encouraged Pryor to build relationships with the school, the chamber, and the county, mentioning the airport and the fairgrounds were both assets for the town that could be utilized more. She also encouraged participation in the Northwest Council of Governments which she served as chairman for 10 years. She was also active on the Colorado Rural Development Council and the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA).
During this time, she visited nearly every small town in Colorado from Dove Creek, to Springfield, Akron, Boone, Grover, Naturita, and Lamar. “I met so many good people throughout the state. I went to every small community in the state to see what they did, and then I would bring it back to see if we could stair step on it somehow.”
Toft also served on the Middle Park Water Conservancy, Middle Park Cowbelles, Zeta Pi Sorority, Roping Club, the Fair board, and Club 20.
Pryor who works full-time at Peak Materials is unsure how he will balance the commitments of work and board meetings but hopes to utilize his board members to make sure there is a presence at meetings throughout the county and state.
“The new board sounds like they are ready to jump, and sound like they are going to be pretty progressive” said Toft encouraging her grandson.
Toft was progressive as a mayor and was at the helm of the board when the first town manager was hired. She also believes her town board may have been the first to utilize grants for the town and encourages her grandson to pursue grants also.
“I was the first one to hire a town manager. Elizabeth Black was the first one, and I got quite a bit of criticism to start with, but you need one… You need one to keep everything in the flow, and to keep up on anything that comes up…I was never sorry for hiring one,” reflects Toft.
While she was mayor, Toft was the owner of the popular restaurant, The Wagon. She had previously owned the Kremmling Club which was the local pool hall, and before retiring, she owned the Kremmling Packaged Liquors at the west end of town.
She was always available to her constituents to share their complaints and insights into town business. She encourages her grandson to do the same while recognizing the challenges Kremmling faces as a bedroom community.
Toft echoed the sentiment of her grandson when she mentioned pride in the community and beautification of the Town. “If you can do something with the trash, that is one of the first things,” she advised.
Pryor agrees saying he hopes to be able to get a dumpster system for the Town, “We need a way to get rid of big stuff without having to travel to Granby.”
Pryor also hopes to have more events in Kremmling and recreate the fun he had growing up in Kremmling. He and his wife, Sara, both grew-up in Kremmling, and his two daughters are the fifth generation to grow-up in Kremmling.
Toft’s parents, Mike and Winona Hinman were the first generation to settle in Kremmling and ranch. Mike was active in the community bringing paramutual horse racing to Kremmling in the late 1940s. He was also a founding member of the Middle Park Stockgrowers and Mountain Parks Electric.
Pryor still has the TWP brand from the original ranch the Hinman brothers purchased from the three doctors – Taylor, Way and Porter in the 1920s. Pryor continues the legacy of ranching with a small herd of cattle that he runs with his parents, Pat and Terry.
As he looks to the new legacy of the position of mayor, Pryor says, “It is going to be a real learning experience.”
What a great story!!!! I love the history and remember covering those town board meetings as Middle Park Times editor when Peg was mayor.