Vail Daily Editor and Publisher Don Rogers: Vail’s community shifts west
March 8, 2013
Vail, the world-class resort destination, has never been stronger.
The big renaissance that led to taller new buildings to replace the old at just the right time, along with the town’s renewed emphasis on events and Vail Resorts’ constant improvement of the mountain, paid off in record sales tax revenues, an eye-popping amount of town reserve funds and the growing envy of ski towns everywhere.
During a recession.
I mean, who is able to pile up $69 million in rainy day accounts during a giant downturn besides Vail? That’s more than the town’s annual budget.
Surely great luck and timing play their part. But I also remember then-Councilman Kent Logan warning in 2007 that a certain kind of storm was coming, the likes of which we’d never seen, and Vail better get ready.
I remember some observers laughing politely at him since we were in the midst of a giant boom that none of the “experts” could see ending. They were far more concerned with employee housing and transportation pressures that surely were coming with a population steaming toward 100,000 in the valley.
But town leaders took his advice to heart, and the combination of prudent steps and the renaissance already underway played out just about as well as could possibly be for these times.
On top of all that, Vail Resorts introduced the game-changing Epic Pass.
I’m not sure what Vail could have done better as a resort as we celebrate its 50th year.
Meanwhile, the center of the community has drifted west of Dowd Junction. Today’s town proper is dominated by second homes and seasonal workers. The diaspora of Vail local residents who have moved downvalley rivals the Irish.
The community’s rich heritage – highlighted in our remembrances on the 50th year – runs in sharp relief to today’s town.
Town leaders, bless them, talk often about keeping the Vail community in Vail, but that ship has long since sailed … toward Edwards, where most of the professional jobs and homes are these days.
Alas, Red Sandstone Elementary is emblematic. Town Council members wax poetic about preventing closure by chaining themselves to the front doors of the half-empty school that must import half the students it does have from Minturn and Red Cliff.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Vail. It’s a great place, with the greatest people, especially our still-living pioneers.
I just think the community boundaries need to be redrawn, from Wolcott up, for a true city of Vail.
Editor and Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-748-2920.