EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - The EGE Air Alliance got the support it needs from the town of Vail in order to get closer to its fundraising goal to fund a nonstop Houston flight this summer.
The alliance is trying to raise $626,000 by Feb. 15 in order to secure the flight from one of Vail's top summer markets. Chris Romer, executive director of the Vail Valley Partnership, which now oversees the alliance, presented the alliance's challenge alongside Mike Brown, board chair for the alliance and president of Alpine Bank.
In order to continue to bring flights to Eagle and to compete with airports in other ski destinations in Colorado and around the West, the alliance needs a lot more than 20 local businesses to contribute to the pot. That's why Romer and Brown are campaigning on behalf of the alliance to convince hundreds of other local businesses who benefit from the local airport to ante up.
They are asking that local governments, however, contribute what they typically have, which in Vail's case is $30,000, expecting the private donors to make up the rest.
Councilwoman Susie Tjossem threw out $100,000 as a possible contribution amount because she said the town of Vail is the valley's economic engine and should be bold.
"Gypsum is putting in $30,000, so what does that say about Vail?" she said.
The council approved $23,500 Tuesday night, which combined with the $6,500 it had already budgeted for 2013, brought the town's contribution to the requested $30,000.
The Eagle County community, via the alliance, subsidizes $2.74 per available flight seat while communities like Jackson Hole, Gunnison/Crested Butte and Montrose/Telluride are subsidizing flights at rates as much as 10 times that amount. The alliance, under the leadership of Brown and Romer, is restructuring its fundraising strategy to try to ensure a more sustainable revenue stream.
Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.