Vail Daily letter: November surprise
Ryan Summerlin November 23, 2012
Unfortunately, the abrupt cancellation of the Steadman medical building is after a lot of time and money has been spent. The project included a walkway overpass and was part of a joined-at-the-hip project with the town of Vail.
Failed projects seems to be commonplace here.
The list includes multiple conference center proposals, aquatic center, “Hub” multi-use building on the RV parking site, originally proposed futuristic Donovan pavilion and total redevelopment of the Lionshead parking complex to include two hotels.
The last conference center project failure did create a $9.3 million windfall that is now being used for infrastructure improvements.
But we shouldn’t count on this happening again.
So is there a common denominator for all these false starts? Perhaps.
Maybe councils are not asking enough hard questions as to whether a project is reasonable considering: financial viability, intertwined complexities, number and type of assumptions, master plan compatibility, precedent setting, risk to the town if project stalls mid-construction and finally, more proactive solicitation of public input.
As for this latest false start, once the town announced it was in the business of selling prime land, a myriad of opportunities and alternatives opened up.
One notion presented to the Town Council was to relocate the in-town fire station to where the annex and helipad is now located by selling the existing fire station land for a pretty price, relocating the annex to one of several other possible locations, and putting the helipad atop the new fire station.
Note the in-town fire station has just started undergoing a $500,000 refurbishing.
This letter is not about sour grapes. It’s about the opportunity for the public to weigh in on the planned $15 million tear down and rebuilding of the municipal building, coupled with reviewing the notion of selling prime Vail land for a “greater good.”
A model for such a process is the way the public was heavily involved before spending the $9.4 million conference center funds.