“Inviting,” “thoughtful,” and “charismatic” come to mind when describing Parker Mayor, Mike Waid. Within five minutes of the meeting, it became evident that Waid was actively involved and enthralled in St. Baldrick’s, a childhood cancer research charity, and explained the purpose of his unconventional hairstyle featuring Broncos colors. In addition to supporting awareness of childhood cancer through his appearance, Waid has built and promoted several other campaigns to improve Parker. “Since I have no legislative ability to approve things, I created the “Mayor’s Challenge,” which is an initiative every year where I challenge the citizens to do something,” said Waid.
Contrary to the recognition that being mayor brings, Waid has little power in creating or passing laws. He makes up for that in the interactive tasks he puts out for citizens. “The first year the challenge was to donate one hour of time per month to a local non-profit, and spend money at least once each week at a locally owned business. The second year it was a fitness challenge: get healthy, live happy,” recalled Waid. He has also helped expand Parker’s horizons economically by spurring small business growth. Waid established a business transition program that helps businesses develop. “This is a program where, a business that has been around for at least a year, has ten or fewer employees, and is in a point of growth will have its rent subsidized by the town,” explained Waid. Waid is helping small business by giving them incentives like including reduced rent.
Waid moved to Parker sixteen years ago when the town was composed of dirt roads, sprinkled with tumbleweeds and very rural. He remembers it as “very different.” He recalls when the Parker gazebo was put up, and its significance. The gazebo was put up by the Rotary Club of Parker, which sponsors other organizations like the Chaparral Interact Club. “After their hundred year anniversary, Rotary wanted all the clubs to do a century project. The local club raised that money on their own to buy the gazebo,” said Waid. The gazebo still is a symbol of the town, but it also sparked change near the gazebo: the O’Brien pool was dug, and a playground was constructed.
Being fully consumed in the community is a key tenet to Waid’s mantra, he has seen Parker grow and expand from a stop on a road trip to a town that about 50,000 citizens call home. Waid’s dedication speaks to the well being and progression of the town. “If you’re in this for the money, then you’re in it for the wrong reasons,” wisely remarked Waid.
By: Jaci Stickrod