Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association monthly report. We publish weekly excerpts from the association, which keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the town. The newsletter electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at www.vailhomeowners.com
Betty Ford Alpine Garden educational center proposal for Ford Park: The new building is intended to provide a permanent, year-round supporting indoor space for the garden, to serve primarily as an interpretive educational visitors center for visitors, residents and secondarily as office space for the gardens administrative and operations staff.
In association with the new building, the site to the west and south of Betty Ford Way, extending to the Manor Vail Bridge, is being proposed as an enhanced landscape and informal garden area that will reclaim underutilized and unmaintained park land and open space, restore riparian vegetation and stream banks, and allow better access and public enjoyment of Gore Creek.
There are deliberate architectural design gestures to keep the building at a small and intimate scale appropriate for the site and park context while being sensitive and respectful of other uses and user groups of the park.
These design gestures include delicate site design with preservation of existing mature trees, framing and screening of sensitive views, response to solar aspect, and use of appropriate materials and forms.
The new building would also encompass a partially covered outdoor patio oriented to Gore Creek to complement and expand on the interior interpretive space. As much as possible, the building would exemplify best practices in energy efficiency and design, and serve as a model of the town of Vail's commitment to sustainability and improving the quality of the built environment.
Project proponents would like to move forward with their fundraising efforts.
Questions will be raised by some about constructing more buildings in the park, particularly those to be used year-round and the project's operational and ongoing funding needs.
Wildfire, preparing for the worst: The calamity of two catastrophic Colorado wildfires have left an indelible impression of the limitations that local governments have to respond to epic natural disasters that can quickly escalate beyond human control.
The ferocity of these fires displaced thousands from their homes. Within hours, Colorado Springs experienced a mass evacuation of 34,000 people from suburban neighborhoods, a number that would approximate evacuating Vail at the height of the Fourth of July celebration. Much has been learned from these fires that is causing reorganization of the state and federal response.
The Homeowners Association has requested local officials to prepare a report and public presentations of what changes, based on what has been learned from these two fires, have and should be made to improve the town, Vail Mountain and Eagle County response to calamitous wildfire with respect to mass evacuation and the removal of beetle kill timber.
The association has suggested that authorities investigate the installation of a communitywide air raid siren alert system as a backup to the reverse call 911 phone and Eagle County email alert systems.
Similar systems have not proven to be failsafe in other areas of Colorado where they have been used in wildfire incidences.
You are urged to add your cell number to the list. Time is of the essence as the fall dry season is rapidly approaching.