Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

February 2, 2022
Critchlow: Chariot Racer … Fireman … Photographer … Actor … Grantsville City Mayor

Neil Critchlow, Grantsville’s new part-time mayor, stood behind his desk in his office in Grantsville City Hall holding up a professional quality photograph he took of Multnomah Falls, Oregon’s tallest waterfall, while on vacation with his wife.

“My wife and I took a trip to Oregon a few years ago,” he said. “We had made no reservations for a place to stay and we had no itinerary. We traveled around Oregon and I had to stop and take some photos.”

Along with his spontaneity, love of travel, and his hobby of photography, Critchlow recently took office as Grantsville’s mayor — which was changed as of Jan. 1 by the City Council to a part-time position. A city manager, hired by the City Council, takes care of the day-to-day operation of the city.

“A full-time mayor can be down at the city during business hours taking care of things, but as a part time mayor, I am trying to squeeze all of that into just a few hours at night,” Critchlow said.

Nearly every evening, Critchlow attends meetings at Grantsville City Hall, totaling over 20 hours a week on average, not counting the time he spends at his full-time job at Morton Salt during the day.  

While most of his waking hours Critchlow is busy working day and night, he prefers to slow things down and carefully weigh each decision that impacts the city.

“I want to slow the process of things down for ordinances and things that are happening with the city,” he explained. “I want to have a discussion about things in one meeting, and then come back during the next meeting and have some more discussion after people have had a few weeks to think about it. Then, I want them to come back again and vote on it.”

Critchlow wants to slow down the process developers go through and ensure the city doesn’t approve something that will hurt them in the long run.

He also believes public input is important.

“People know more than they are given credit for most of the time,” Critchlow said. “They are invested in our city and we need to make sure they have the information they need to help us. Of course, you are going to get people who are against everything and don’t want any growth, but there are a lot of good ideas that come out of slowing things up and letting people look at things.”

Critchlow attributes the way he runs the city to a quote by George Washington which reads: “Democratical states must always feel before they can see: it is this that makes their governments slow, but the people will be right at last.”

Each week Crichlow highlights a business in Grantsville on a Facebook live video.

“There are businesses in Grantsville that people don’t even know are there,” he said.

The live videos can be viewed on Critchlow’s Facebook page and the Tooele Happy Hour group.

“I just want people to see what’s here in Grantsville,” Critchlow said.

Critchlow wants to improve the horse arena behind city hall to provide something for the city’s youth to do.

If Critchlow wasn’t busy enough already, he also volunteers for Grantsville’s Volunteer Fire Department. He has done so for a number of years.

Critchlow used to run Grantsville’s fire prevention service program. He taught children from schools in the city about fire safety, what to do if they catch fire, and how to escape from a car in the case of an accident.

After his friend and fellow firefighter Leonard Tayon experienced a bad burn in the early 2000s, Critchlow found himself in a rehab center filled with children who had been burned for a number of reasons. This is where the idea for the fire prevention course was born.

“I went in there to his rehab and here are all these little kids with these burns,” he said. “It just broke my heart. I determined that I was going to go home and do everything possible not to have any kids from Grantsville burned… I was put in charge of fire prevention and from the time we started until I quit, we didn’t have a single fire started by a kid from our program… This is a huge success. We hang our hats on this.”

The fire prevention course consisted of educational demonstrations and a water day in the spring.

In his limited free time, Critchlow enjoys chariot racing.

“It’s addicting and so much fun,” he said. “My family has chariot raced for a long time, probably for well over 40 years. It’s an adrenaline rush. We race against people from different associations from Idaho and Wyoming.” 

“It’s not like Ben-Hur,” said Critchlow, with a laugh. “We don’t wear togas or anything. You have two horses hooked to a chariot made out of fiberglass or carbon fiber- something light. Everything’s a lot better than it was 40 years ago. You go down to a starting gate and it’s a quarter mile race. You race against another team or three teams…When the gate opens, everyone breaks out and it’s noisy and incredible.”

Critchlow also enjoys spending time with his grandchildren.

“They are the greatest invention ever,” Critchlow said, speaking about his eight grandchildren. “I play with them. I have a hammock for them and a swing.”

Critchlow has a motto for everything he does.

“Life is good,” he said. “There is a sign in my bedroom that says ‘life is good’ and each morning I just touch that and go ‘Ha’, because life is good.”

Critchlow also enjoys the quote, “Listen to understand, not to reply.”

“I saw that quote one day and I thought that that is a great philosophy,” Critchlow said.

 

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