Changes to the west Vail development plan, approved nearly five years ago, were recently requested and granted by the town of Vail’s planning commission.
Developers are said to have involved Marriott properties as investors. The plan is to demolish the antique Roost Lodge, replacing it with development that contains short- and long-term rental units. Issues that have been concerns in earlier public planning commission deliberations include the design of North Frontage Road traffic flow patterns, especially the turn lane onto Buffer Creek Road.
Importantly, concerns have been raised about the appearance of the project after a large portion of the hillside is extracted at the east end of the property. The worry is that the extraction will leave an unsightly scar on a significant portion of the hillside. Some neighbors want a landscape plan as part of the approval that shows that their concerns are appropriately mitigated.
The proposed project is emblematic of the type of higher density development that will most likely appear throughout the west Vail area in the coming years.
Ford Park Master Plan, Phase II: There appears to be widespread approval of the Ford Park, Phase I redevelopment, which consisted mainly of improvements to the Ford Amphitheater with terracing of the grass viewing area, new bathrooms and improved access from the Frontage Road parking area and also improvements to the athletic fields.
The Phase II plans, however, ran into substantial public opposition from those who didn’t want to see further construction in or commercialization of the Park. In March, the Town Council withdrew its approval for those projects, which included a new education center for the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, a social plaza at the entrance to the Ford Amphitheater, and a proposal to install artificial turf on the athletic fields.
Phase II back before the Town Council: Although there has been no public debate, apparently the Town Council is intent on permitting more construction in Ford Park. It is now in the process of considering proposed changes to the Ford Park Master Plan to accommodate an education center for the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. Three locations are under consideration: the present tennis center building, the west end of the soccer fields on the south side of Gore Creek and a location on West Betty Ford Way adjacent to the playground restrooms. At the same time, the social plaza to be located near the entry of the Ford Amphitheater is getting a more detailed evaluation.
Will there be more commercialization of the athletic fields? Although originally conceived as a public park for Vail residents, over the years the town of Vail has authorized an increasing number of commercial uses of the athletic fields in Ford Park. The proposal to cover the fields with artificial turf is seen by some as leading to even more commercialization as the playing season of the fields would be extended.
Neighbors are saying that Fork Park needs to be reserved for the community rather than turning it into an overused profit center for the town. These critics say that other town parks should absorb some of the commercial uses that are burdening Ford Park. There is no reason, now that there is to be plenty of Frontage Road parking in west Vail, why certain types of concerts can’t be held at Donovan Park instead of Ford Park. They ask, “Why should Ford Park, as but one of the community’s large public parks, host all of the major special events?”
Ford Park’s future: In the coming months, critical decisions will be made that might determine the future of Ford Park. The Vail Homeowners Association believes that quality of life considerations must play a key role in those decisions and it will closely monitor and report on developments as they occur.
‘I am fed up with a system which busts the pot smoker and lets the big dope racketeer go free.’