Vail Resorts commits parking money to proposed structure at Red Sandstone | VailDaily.com

Vail Resorts commits parking money to proposed structure at Red Sandstone

The town of Vail and the Eagle County School District are talking about adding a four-level parking structure during an extensive renovation of Red Sandstone Elementary School. This is an early artist's rendering. Vail Resorts this week agreed to put $4.3 million into the project. The company has for a decade held that money to add more parking to town.

VAIL — On Tuesday, a plan to build a new, 160-space parking structure at Red Sandstone Elementary School received a $4.3 million boost from Vail Resorts.

The resort company has for a decade held that amount in reserve to help fund more parking in Vail. But the company has also had the right to determine which project receives that money. The Red Sandstone project appears to be it.

The Vail Town Council in May agreed to work on the parking structure plan with Eagle County Schools, which will start this year on an extensive renovation at the town's only public school.

The new structure carries an estimated cost of $10.5 million. The school district has agreed to pay 15 percent of the structure's cost — an amount it had roughly budgeted into the original renovation plan.

rest of the money

The town can use property tax money from the Vail Reinvestment Authority, which was created to fund improvements in Lionshead Village. That funding stream wouldn't be enough to pay the town's share of the structure's cost, meaning the rest of the town's share will probably be paid out of reserves.

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As the plan started to take shape, town officials decided to tap the $4.3 million from Vail Resorts. Town officials also wanted an answer from the resort company prior to an Aug. 1 deadline to make construction commitments.

That answer came Tuesday, as Vail Mountain Chief Operating Officer Doug Lovell read a letter to the council affirming Vail Resorts' support for the Red Sandstone project.

"The Red Sandstone project appears to be a good choice, as the location will benefit Vail guests, employees and residents alike," the letter states.

There's still more planning and design work to do, but the town and school district have the framework of an agreement that reserves 40 spaces in the structure for school uses, but only on weekdays during the school year. The plan will also re-route the road to the school, creating another access point on North Frontage Road so traffic doesn't need to turn around in the school parking lot.

If the parking structure is eventually approved, construction will begin in 2018 and will coincide with some of the renovation work at the school.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com and @scottnmiller.

By the numbers

$10.5 million: Estimated cost of a new parking structure at Red Sandstone Elementary School.

$4.3 million: Vail Resorts’ contribution to the project.

$1.57 million: Eagle County Schools’ contribution.

160: Spaces to be built.

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