The Vail Town Council's recent first reading approval of the proposal to build an office building and conference center at Ford Park is an unfortunate step in the wrong direction.
Since the park was built nearly 40 years ago, Vail has wisely resisted numerous proposals to urbanize one of our crown jewels.
While the proposed building is well-designed and low impact, we should have no doubt that its construction represents the thin end of the wedge. Already waiting in the wings to follow the dangerous precedent set by approving this proposal is a well-designed and low-impact parking garage.
Meanwhile, a mere three miles down the road, the former Cascade Village Theater and Colorado Mountain College complex sits idle. Would we not be better off, as a community, purchasing this facility and rehabilitating it to provide office space, conference rooms and a number of other uses sought by our cultural non-profits?
Vail has been successful for myriad reasons, one of which is definitely the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. However, the gardens and the park in which they are located are testament to an even greater driving force behind our success: That we've had the foresight and good sense not to build on every square inch of this valley.
I urge the Vail Town Council to reject the current proposal on that basis.