Mayor to leave lasting legacy

Parker Mayor David Casiano will hand over the reins to Mike Waid Dec. 17. Casiano has served as mayor for eight years and was a councilmember for two years prior. Photo by Chris Michlewicz
Chris Michlewicz

He has been the face of Parker for the last eight years.

Known for his trademark all-black outfits, beaming smile and nice-to-see-you hugs, David Casiano has long been the man about town. And although he will still play a large role in the community, Parker’s beloved mayor is stepping down from his post.

Councilmember Mike Waid was elected to the position in November and will be sworn in during a meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at Parker Town Hall.

With just days left in his term, Casiano said he is leaving with “no regrets whatsoever.” He recalls the highlights of his tenure with sincere fondness; his personal favorite was bringing 32 Iraqi high school students to Parker in 2007 as a means to promote cultural understanding. Casiano says the greatest town achievement during his stint as mayor was the creation of the Parker Arts, Culture and Events Center, a 500-seat performing arts facility

The venue will come in handy for the next chapter of Casiano’s life. He has dabbled in local plays and musicals in recent years, but is starting his own theater production company called Café La Papa. He is starring in its debut production, “The Zoo Story,” beginning Jan. 5 at the Parker Library.

Casiano, 63, will not only be remembered for his charisma and sense of humor, including poking fun at his diminutive stature, but also his no-nonsense leadership style and blunt manner of speaking when the situation called for it. The Brooklyn transplant made strong statements by digging in his heels in support of topics in which he believed.

Casiano’s legacy will perhaps best be defined by his “approachability,” said Stevan Strain, longtime owner of the Warhorse Inn in downtown Parker. Strain has always been amazed to see the mayor at events large and small, from Eagle Scout Award ceremonies and Rotary Club meetings to Oktoberfest and the annual tree lighting at O’Brien Park.

“That’s what’s needed in the community. Citizens need to be able to get to know their mayor, ask questions, voice their concerns, and he always lent an ear,” Strain said.

Casiano credited the town staff for maintaining Parker’s positive direction. He said their thorough presentations ensured that elected leaders could make the best decisions. The mayor also said he was motivated and inspired by the support of Parker residents.

“My success as mayor was in direct proportion to their generosity,” Casiano said.

He extended a friendly hand to local teens by creating Youth for Parker, an organization that seeks to represent the interests of Parker’s younger population. Casiano has also served on numerous boards, including the town’s cultural commission, planning commission, council, Denver Regional Council of Governments, Metro Mayor’s Caucus, E-470 and the Southeast Business Partnership.

Casiano is not stepping out of local politics entirely: he has already registered with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office as a candidate for Jack Hilbert’s commissioner seat for Douglas County. Hilbert is term-limited and will leave office in 2014.

Meanwhile, Casiano plans to keep busy with Café La Papa and will focus on starting a cycling series of plays that will be put on each weekend at Douglas County Libraries branches. He will also be a guest on Castle Rock Radio programs and is keeping close tabs on a cohousing project for active seniors that his wife, Susan, is helping to organize. Casiano vowed to stay involved in Parker and says he is proud to pass the torch to Waid, whom he says will “take the town in the direction it needs to be taken.”

When asked what he hopes the people of Parker will remember him for, Casiano, as always, answered eloquently.

“I hope they remember that they had a mayor who was approachable and out there being the true voice for the people and the council,” he said.

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