City administrator ‘sad to leave’ Riverton, but looking forward to new opportunity in Tennessee

After almost five years on the job in Riverton, city administrator Tony Tolstedt is moving on to a new post in Spring Hill, Tennessee – a suburb south of Nashville.

The Riverton City Council accepted his resignation at the end of a regular meeting earlier this month, thanking Tolstedt for the work he has done in the community since he was hired in 2017.

“It’s in a better place than when you got here,” Councilmember Kristy Salisbury said.

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Crediting the community

Tolstedt credited city staff and the local community with the achievements he’s been able to participate in during his time in Riverton – despite the impacts of a global pandemic.

“We kept moving forward, and we did so in the face of a lot of challenges,” Tolstedt said. “I really respect what our staff here at City Hall has done. (And) our community … stayed with us and worked with us.”

Five years ago, he recalled, Riverton had just lost its Safeway grocery store. Now, the vacated space has is occupied by Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply.

Then, the local Kmart closed, only to be replaced by a Sutherland’s and a newly constructed sporting goods store and gun shop, Toltsedt said.

He also mentioned ongoing work to maintain and improve commercial air service at Central Wyoming Regional Airport, and the community’s approval of a half cent sales tax for economic development in 2020.

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“We have new restaurants, we have different businesses that are starting up and that are moving forward, we have an equestrian center going in, a new hospital,” Tolstedt continued. “And look at the public events we’ve had over the last weekend. Look at our amazing balloon rally. … The community as a whole deserves a lot of credit for what it’s done.”

‘Sad to leave’

Tolstedt said his family – including his wife and their two children, ages 12 and 14 – are “sad to leave” Riverton.

“The friends we’ve made here (are) lifelong friends,” he said. “This is a really amazing community with great people. (That’s) part of the reason why I really enjoy my job, is because of the people I get to work with and what they do and what they’re all about.”

He wasn’t really looking to leave town, he explained, but a colleague suggested he apply for the job in Spring Hill, where he will be working for a city administrator he has known for years.

“It just kind of came together,” he said. “It’s challenging, (but) the kids and my wife have absolutely been supportive of the move. … They’re looking at the positives.”

Spring Hill is growing quickly, Tolstedt said, with a current population base of about 40,000 people.

It is also home to a 2,100-acre General Motors plant, he said, and the Nashville Predators hockey team is looking to build a new skating facility there.

“They have a lot of really neat stuff – it’s an incredibly nice community,” he said. “I’ve managed to visit there a couple times, and people are really welcoming and very kind. … They’re weathering their own level of storms because they have a lot of development, (but) they’re doing a really good job of working through those challenges thoughtfully.”

‘Positive handoff’

Tolstedt’s last day working at Riverton City Hall is scheduled for Aug. 4, and he said he is confident he will be able to “affect a positive handoff” to new or interim leadership before he leaves.

“We have a great group of people here that make this place work,” he said, joking that, “I’m not sure if you’re going to even feel my absence.” “I cannot say enough about our staff at the city across the board. They do amazing things, and they work really hard for us. It’s been awesome to get to serve with them.”

Tolstedt came to Riverton from Douglas, where he served as city administrator 2012-2017.

Before that, he was city administrator in Broken Bow, Nebraska, and assistant to the city manager in Alliance, Nebraska, where he also spent time as the airport manager, according to his biography on the City of Riverton website.

He attended high school in Sheridan.

For more information call the City of Riverton at 856-2227.

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