A ‘real’ town slipping away | VailDaily.com

A ‘real’ town slipping away

Matt Zalaznick
Vail Editorial Board
Vail, CO Colorado

Vail says it wants to keep 30 percent of its working people living in town, but it keeps losing the things the working and middle class like.

There hasn’t been a movie theater for a few months, and now, the resort town’s

only bookstore is in trouble. The owner of Verbatim, which has relocated

twice in the past several years, says if he can’t sell, the bookshop might

not stay open.

Sure, there are plenty of fur shops and jewelry stores, but how much time is

a 25-year-old ski instructor going to spend perusing minks and tennis bracelets? And how cozy is that instructor going to feel surrounded by stores that are far too

expensive to shop in?

The message sent by all those swanky storefronts is: We only want your

labor, not your presence on Bridge Street. We understand the place high-end shops have in a resort that attracts big dollars, but if the town is serious about retaining locals, it needs to have a mix of offerings. And hopefully the town’s new economic development director will take such thoughts to heart.

One woman interviewed by the Vail Daily said the town government should

consider subsidizing book stores to keep them in town. After all, governments often support museums and orchestras, she said.

And Vail might not have many options left if wants to keep a few businesses the workers want to patronize. Otherwise, all there will be left for younger, working-class types to do in Vail will be to go to the bar.

Maybe that’s why the town has been promoting a program that lets people who are too drunk to drive leave their cars in the parking garage overnight without incurring extra expense.

There are supposed to be activities for regular folks in the Solaris building that opens in a few years, specifically a movie theater a bowling alley. But one wonders what percentage of Vail’s working class will be left to join the league teams at the lanes.

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