1994: Vail becomes well rounded
May 29, 2011
VAIL, Colorado – Once upon a time, my dear young people, there were no roundabouts in Vail.The world was square and so were we.We had the low tech four-way stop at the main Vail intersection. We’d watch captains of industry come unglued as they drove up to the four-way stop in luxury sedans that cost more than the gross national product of most Third World countries.These are people who deal with thousands of people and billions of dollars every day, and their brain synapses would move so slowly you could time them with a Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar. Not one of those silly time/date digital deals, but something that would confuse a captain.It was funny for the same reason this sort of thing is always funny: It wasn’t happening to us.A few years before 1994, some poor, misguided soul suggested a traffic light to solve the problem.You should’ve heard the uproar. Some Vailians were distraught at the potential traffic tackiness of a stoplight, so they considered hiring people to protest and wave placards that looked like American Express platinum cards, emblazoned with the motto, “Hell No, We Won’t Glow!”OK, we might be exaggerating a little.Anyway, to fold up the four-way and avoid traffic light trauma, Vail’s Powers That Be decided to spend a couple million bucks on a round-about. And speaking of government gone good, Eagle County spent $6 million for its new airport terminal. The goal was straightforward enough: To steal the commercial airline business away from the Vail/Beaver Creek Jet Center.The whole thing was paid for through airline fees and didn’t cost Eagle County’s taxpayers one thin dime.And if you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em. Vail Associates Real Estate and Slifer, Smith & Frampton Real Estate have been going at it hammer and tong.They ended years of competition when they announced that their firms would merge.The announcement came not long after the Vail Daily published a story saying Slifer, Smith & Frampton had sold more property than any other firm in Eagle County.Speaking of making the sale, it was time to party like it’s 1999. After five years of intense lobbying, Vail was awarded the 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships, the second time in 10 years Vail would host the massive event.Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.