GUERNSEY--When the idea for creating a position to promote the community and encourage more economic development and tourism, Mayor Mike Pettigrew thought he knew who that person should be. But Pettigrew couldn’t have possibly known that the man they were about to hire would affect the amount of change that has come to pass.
On Saturday afternoon, several hundred community members came together to officially say thank you to Bruce Heimbuck, the first Guernsey Economic and Tourism Development Coodinator who retired the first of October.
Previously the Principal and Superintendent of Platte County School District No. 2 (Guernsey-Sunrise Schools), Heimbuck accepted the position in April of 2008 when the Economic Development group was reorganized and committted to promoting the community in a much bigger way than had previously been done. The Wyoming National Guard agreed to partner with The Town of Guernsey to fund the position.
Over the nearly 10 years that Heimbuck held the job, the community realized over $6 million dollars in grants, tax revenues and matching funding for projects he planned and helped carry out with a number of groups within the community.
His vision and drive were noted many times over Saturday as a number of individuals spoke about Heimbuck and their experiences in working with him.
Mayor Ed Delgado thanked Bruce for his efforts and announced that in recognition of the work he had done on the deveopment of West Park, the city council has decided to rename the grounds Bruce Heimbuck West Park.
From board members of the Guernsey Economic and Tourism Developmet Group to teachers who worked for Bruce in his days as an administrator, stories were shared about his caring and concern for not only growth but enhancing the quality of life for his students, his staff and the residents of the area.
Some of the projects Heimbuck had a hand in include promotion and expansion of Guernsey’s industrial park, work to promote the one percent sales tax to fund the new swimming pool, funding to provide improvements to the baseball field and additional playground equipment in several of Guernsey’s parks, a renovation and relandscaping of Gordon Davis Park and the area around the Visitor’s Center, the Lucindy Rollins Walking Trail around the river, including the addition of a large bridge to cross a low-lying swampy area, acquisition of land by trading and working with the National Guard Camp, the addition of the Summer and Winter Concert Series, the summer Movies in the Park, the promotion of Duck Daze and Beer Fest, July Fourth, Winter’s Eve Festival, the renovation of storefronts and signage, and the addition of planters in the downtown business area, the renovation of the old Culver Hotel, and many other projects that included bettering not only Guernsey but Platte County as well. Executive Director of the Platte County Chamber of Commerce, Kit Armour spoke about meeting Heimbuck shortly after she came on the job. “Bruce told me something that has stayed with me since I heard him say it. He said, Platte County has a lot of silos--now we just need someone to build a barn.”
It is that type of philosophy that endeared Heimbuck to many that he worked with over the years.
A number of people spoke to all that has been accomplished over the time he has worked as the Economic and Tourism Development Coordinator.
His sense of humor and his work ethic were noted by many Saturday. A quick wit and a positive attitude are classic Heimbuck, and it was obvious that has been passed along to the next generation. His oldest son James attended Saturday and after thanking his father for passing along that work ethic and how much it has inspired him, the younger Heimbuck quipped that he can’t wait to see his dad “fail retirement again!”
Heimbuck and his wife Gail have built a home and relocated to Cheyenne but with the number of friends and ties to the community, it’s likely they’ll visit often.
Heimbuck told the group gathered Saturday that he appreciated the kind words and said he had enjoyed the job very much. He was also quick to say the changes in the community were always a group effort. “We got a lot of things done. It wasn’t “me”--it was “we”--”we” got a lot of things done.”