A Lifetime of Service
Hi. I'm Kelly Zuniga. I'm running for mayor in the Erie Town Board election in April.
My family has lived in Erie for almost a decade. My husband, Miguel and I have two adopted daughters (4 and 12 years old). We fostered more children than we could count (newborn to 16 years old) through Boulder County Health and Human Services from 2015 to 2021. Our house had a revolving door for a while and our heads were spinning right along with it, but we made a commitment to open our home to people who needed us and it turned out that the need was great. Fostering children is a special kind of adventure that has tested and blessed our lives in equal measure.
Our family has grown roots in Erie, so we may never leave. One of my first bucket-list projects as a stay-at-home mom in Erie was to build the Town's first community garden. It took 18 months of planning, fundraising, and community outreach to get the project off the ground - and another six years as executive director before I could confidently pass on the volunteer-based leadership. The gardens have been a great blessing to my family, to the neighborhood, and to the food banks and shelters that benefit from donated vegetables each summer. I have advised others in their efforts to establish community gardens, and have also enjoyed the opportunity to mentor inmates at Boulder County Jail in their gardening program in 2017.
I have made it my life's work to create places where individuals, families and communities thrive. My bachelor's degree and early professional work in landscape architecture focused on place-making, urban design and municipal planning. My master's thesis in community and regional development explored ideological conflict between ethnic groups in the Baltic States... and if I can build community in a place divided by the front-lines of WWII, I'm pretty sure I can handle County Line Road.
For my doctoral research and as a professor in Queensland, Australia, I studied people's travel behaviors and the reasons that they choose to drive, take public transport, bike or walk for daily commuting trips. During my tenure in Queensland, I also taught urban design, site planning and transport planning. Since I started back to employment after working as a full-time mom, I've had the opportunity to acquire open lands, design and build parks, playgrounds, natural areas, trails and nature play features in Loveland. I also volunteer these skills for the pending redevelopment of the Aspen Ridge Preparatory School playgrounds.