A quest for smart growth | VailDaily.com

A quest for smart growth

Veronica Whitney
Bret Hartman / Vail DailyAvon resident Kristi Ferraro is running on the November ballet for Town Council.

AVON – Kristi Ferraro moved to Avon on election day in 2000 with some hesitation. She had some difficulty leaving Snowmass, where she lived, she said. But in four years, Ferraro said she has grown so attached to Avon she now wants to become a councilwoman. “I like living here better. There’s more of a sense of community. It’s a little bit more family oriented,” said Ferraro, 43, a mother of two boys. “We’re so close to the library and the recreation center. The change was good.”I have enjoyed living here and this is the place my children will call home,” added Ferraro who is one of six candidates vying for one of three seats on the Avon Town Council .The town’s landscape and amenities are one of the reasons Ferraro wants to run for council.”We have such great assets here,” said Ferraro, who is an attorney in Vail. “The natural setting – we’re close to Beaver Creek – the park, the ethnic restaurants in town. We haven’t taken advantage of the natural assets that Avon has. The thing that separates us from Edwards is our proximity to Beaver Creek. “I just want to make sure that the incremental decisions that the town council makes help preserve those assets instead of deteriorating them,” she added.Smart growthTo Ferraro, one of the biggest issues facing Avon is the loss of retail and restaurant business to Edwards. “Avon needs to make sure it has a vibrant town core,” she said. “We’re so close to Beaver Creek, we should figure out a way to take advantage of that and bring visitors here.”If she had been on the council two years ago, Ferraro said, she most likely would have voted to partially finance a gondola from the town to Beaver Creek. The project, which would have cost the town $6 million, was opposed by Avon.

“I would have liked to see an economic impact study, but the more connected we can get to Beaver Creek, the better,” she said.If she’s elected, Ferraro said she will focus on smart growth. “Let’s not develop somewhere else when the core is mostly empty,” she said. “There needs to be redevelopment to the west of Avon Road, if we can reconfigure the whole thing and make it more pedestrian friendly. We need to become less of a car town and become more pedestrian friendly. With a few changes, Avon could have a very unique sense of place.”Avon should be a service center, but it can be more than that,” she added. “It doesn’t have to be the big-box-store town.”Ferraro envisions the town’s service center, with the bigger stores, in the east end, while the west end becomes more resort-oriented with unique shops and interesting ethnic restaurants, she said. “To get the vibrancy we need in town we need more entertainment,” she said. “We should also take more advantage of the river. The confluence would be a great place for that. The nice thing here is we face south, which is great for the sun.” The confluence is the land on the north side of the Eagle River and west of Avon Road. Rodeos have been held there this summer. Ferraro, who supported the preservation of Bair Ranch as open space, said she’s also interested in preserving open space in Avon.”There are a couple of spots that could become mountain parks,” she said.Tackling complex issuesFerraro’s love for Colorado started when she was a child – although she grew up in northern California, Ferraro’s family drove to Colorado every summer, she said.

“My parents both grew up in Colorado and we would visit family and enjoy the mountains,” said Ferraro, who moved to Snowmass in 1994.Ferraro has a degree in accounting and law, and said her 15 years of experience as an attorney would be an asset to the Town Council.”I’m very used to taking on complex issues,” she said. “You have to do a lot of homework, get a lot of background and then present it in a way that is persuasive to other people.”When asked what she would do if people from outside the town voiced their concerns – as happened in July when a 150-foot flagpole went up in the Wal-Mart parking lot and dozens of Eagle-Vail residents attended a council meeting to oppose it – she said she would be open to listen to neighbors.”Even if they aren’t part of Avon it’s important to hear their considerations,” she said. John Krueger, a long time Avon resident and business owner, said Ferraro is an excellent choice for the November election. “She’s a good person of the highest character,” Krueger said. “She is honest. She is a parent interested in the future of the community. She’s not afraid of speaking her mind and be pushed around by any special interest group. I have no doubt that she will insist on quality development and redevelopment.”

Staff writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or vwhitney@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado

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