Watching the battle of the clubhouse makes me nostalgic for Crossroads.
Crossroads was such an apt name for the symbol of Vail’s transcendence from tiring, worn ski town to envy of the resort universe. It also represented the end of the old guard’s grip on the community, even if the town had succeeded in beginning the big renaissance earlier with some smaller projects, including the Spraddle Creek Apartments, that were strongly contested and turned out just fine.
The 70 percent vote that delivered Solaris was too much to dismiss as simply electioneering that enabled more younger people to vote in the referendum that the old guard had petitioned up with great enthusiasm in 2006.
This was the peak of the battle for Vail, and the nadir of the “woe is us” muttering and doom-saying in the wake of the referendum.
History shows, however, that the Solaris, the now-Sebastian, Four Seasons and Arrabelle monoliths weren’t really all that monolithic in reality; rejuvenation followed their openings in the teeth of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression; and the town of Vail has piled up nearly $50 million in rainy day reserves through the toughest of times across the land.
That kind of ended the “golden goose” grousing for awhile. Hard to be credible with bright, shiny eggs like these.
Those voices are back now, primarily in opposition to renovating the worn-out clubhouse at Vail’s golf course in a way to build up a booming wedding business. A once pedestrian 18th hole has become epic in the minds of golfers and neighbors who fear noise and congestion if the town’s plans come through.
I’m glad they are speaking up, actually. Not that I agree so much with their position against progress. But even with 87 percent of the voters approving the clubhouse renovation, among several others, with the funds for the conference center never built, the extra discussion ultimately is healthy.
The folks opposing the clubhouse plans will say the voters just didn’t realize the full implications of changing that 18th hole and making the clubhouse a viable wedding venue. But I’m pretty certain the vote would go the same way even with knowledge of the extra detail. For the full community of Vail, it makes the most sense.
Listening to the most sensitive voices, even to the point of working through litigation, might be a bit trying, but it does provide a better chance of better decisions. Let those clunky, clanking gears of democracy turn.
I like what one astute observer mentioned to me the other day: Vail’s leaders would have been smart to have someone like, say, Arnold Palmer, who knows the Vail course, look at and bless the plan as the improvement it will be. We’d still have the wailing that renovating the clubhouse will turn the place into a permanent county fair, but maybe the 18th hole wouldn’t take on quite the airs of legend.
This is the Vail I’ve missed in recent years. Finally, we’re back to par.
‘Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.’
George Bernard Shaw