Amy Phillips touts tourism background
AVON Years of working in hotels has shaped Amy Phillips philosophy on the Avon Town Council.She has a soft-spot for the workers that keep the hospitality industry running but also knows how important it is to keep the tourists happy.Im really eager to be a voice for the people whose shoes Ive walked in, but dont have time make their voice heard especially the many service workers that live in Avon, Phillips said.Phillips was elected to the council in 2004, and is now running for a second term. Shes spent most of her career in the hotel business, mainly organizing the logistics for big conference events held at places like the Westin/Vail Cascade figuring out whether they want carrots or peas, what kind of projectors and movie screens they need, what room the conference will be in and where everyone will go.I can tell you where you can take 110 people to dinner anywhere in Colorado, Phillips said.Phillips left the hotel business, and in 2004, took a job selling ads for Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine a job she really enjoys. She sits on the board for the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, and has been regularly involved in organizing the Taste of Vail.Phillips was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minn. She moved here 22 years ago to ski, and like many people, thought shed only stick around a year or two. She fell in love with the area, which has the feel of a small town, but also has all that big city stuff like the Bravo! music festival, she says.Phillips says shes enjoyed her time on the town council so far. One thing she enjoys is digging through the details many people dont see like the long reaching financial models for developments like the Westin. Phillips said sifting through the numbers is a pretty big strength of hers.Shes also enjoyed working with the diverse mix of other council members lawyers, an architect, and engineer, a builder and feels she adds the important perspective of someone who knows the ins and outs of the hospitality industry.So much of our economy starts with the resort guests, Phillips said.Phillips says she sees a lot of potential for development in Avon. Her goals are to ensure that Avons both a resort destination at the base of Beaver Creek and a year-round community that takes care of its workers.I know I have a good gut instinct, and know I want us to have a good community, Phillips said.Phillips is married with two children. She and her husband Bill like to do a lot of cooking, gardening, entertaining and even brew and bottle their own beer. In the winter, she likes to snowboard.
1. What is Avons biggest challenge right now, and how should the town council deal with it?Our biggest challenge is finding a balance between the wants and needs of our year-round community of permanent residents with the desires of our part-time residents and guests who value our community for its proximity to world-class recreational amenities. Both of these groups pay significant taxes to the Town of Avon, and the councils role is to insure that these funds are spent wisely for the needs of today and into the future.2. Avons new Main Street has been on the drawing board for years now its actually happening. How can the council ensure that redevelopment of this area goes smoothly and downtown Avon is a success?The planning timeline for the current Main Street has a relatively short but intense schedule in comparison to several other planning documents that preceded it. The plan for Main Street is one of the results of the update process of the out-of-date 1996 comprehensive plan. Around 2002, it became apparent the 1996 comprehensive plan needed updating. I was appointed as a citizen-at-large to that committee; after almost four years of work by several different groups of citizens staff, councils, consultants and committees, it was approved by the Town Council in 2006. The updated 2006 comprehensive plan led to the West Town Center plan, finalized in 2007. This created a vision of a new grid of streets and pedestrian walkways designed to maximize the connectivity to the new River Front Park and Westin Resort. The West Town Center plan was further refined to include Lake Street, which is almost complete and Main Street, which is slated to have its design finalized in the next few months. Main Street may break ground in 2009. To your question: the town, through our urban renewal authority, has invested in the planning process and is funding the implementation of the first strategic stages of these plans. The opening of the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at the end of September is the first private investment in Avons vitalization plans. It is important for the town of Avon to work with property owners and the local development community in a cooperative fashion to approve and partner together on future implementation. The sooner a property owner comes to the plate, the sooner long-term visions will be realized. My role as a councilor will be to analyze the plans brought forth by the applicants, evaluate all aspects of the plan including the public benefit, listen to the wants and desires of the Avon stakeholders, and make sound recommendations that minimize the risk to the current residents, businesses and guests. I became involved as one of the original members of the comprehensive plan committee almost seven years ago and, though the process has been a long one, I am confident the outcome will benefit all of our stakeholders and make Avon a stronger community for years to come.3. How would you describe the towns relationship with developer Traer Creek over the past couple years? How can that relationship improve or should the town take a hard line?The relationship between the developer of the Village at Avon and its corresponding Metro District is a very complicated relationship. The relationship over the past few years has improved for most of the citizens of Avon, though not as much for the citizens at Buffalo Ridge and the employees at Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Traer Creek Plaza as I would like. The developer has a different set of priorities and his priorities are often at odds with the wants, needs and desires of the citizens of Avon. What Avon has to stand on is the development agreement, originally signed in 1998, and the changes that the developer requests to make to that agreement. I believe that holding the developer to an agreement is my job; others may call it taking a hard line. The Avon community stakeholders are asked to voice their opinions through the public process; as a councilor I will listen to both sides and negotiate and vote to better our community based on that dialogue. Up until 2001 our public process and communication with the citizens and businesses in Avon were neither transparent nor inclusive; we have taken many steps to ensure the transparency of process improves. It is the lack of transparency and short cuts in the process prior to 2001 that created many problems in the agreement that we are still trying to correct. The development agreement was signed in 1998 after several years of planning and negotiation. That signed agreement is in place, with a tax deferment from the town of Avon to the Metro District originally contracted for 35 years (only 25 years remain). This deferment was intended to insure that the development pay its way so that the Village at Avon would not create a reduction in service level or a cost burden to the existing Avon tax payers. As with every long-term relationship, the needs and desires of both parties may change over time. Unlike many relationships, calling it quits is not an option; this one is required to work. The Avon Town Councils role is to make sure this development does not adversely affect the current residents, and that the agreement and all its promised benefits to the town come to fruition, and we protect future interests of residents who will live in the Village at Avon in the future. This is the same responsibility we have with all development agreements. 4. Avon has taken-on several green initiatives in the past year, such as buying wind power and developing a snowmelt system for Main Street using excess heat from the wastewater treatment plant. Should the town continue pursuing projects like these? Whats your philosophy on how Avon should approach environmental stewardship?Yes, we have made a commitment to lower the carbon footprint of the municipal services by a minimum of 30 percent by 2020. We need to be a leader in environmental stewardship keeping in mind our fiscal limitations.We have made this commitment with the understanding our town will grow significantly as the Village at Avon comes online. We already have evaluated our current needs and are taking steps toward this goal. We need to take advantage of technological improvements as we take care of our day-to-day business. We are replacing some vehicles with hybrids, but not all. For example, police cars will not be changed to an alternate fuel until the technology gives them the acceleration they need on I-70, but our hybrid busses are working well and will continue to be purchased as we replace vehicles or if we expand our fleet. I am very hopeful our wastewater recovery system to heat the streets not only comes to fruition, but that this project becomes a model for other communities with similar needs. 5. A new master plan is being developed for Nottingham Park. What improvements are top priority for you?I like the plan that has developed and appreciate the public involvement in this planning process. We will be evaluating an implementation timeline in the coming weeks. I do not have any personal priority; however, from a safety perspective it seems the changes suggested regarding childrens play areas and restrooms in the north east quadrant will probably come to the top of the list. 6. What can the council do to keep working-class families in Avon?National economics that Avon town councilors have little control over, such as the price of gas and the cost of commuting, may effect this more than any thing else. Currently working families are migrating out of Avon because the stock of housing options in Avon is lacking in move up housing. Our biggest opportunity is within the development of the Village at Avon; the developer is in the drivers seat on this one. I am aware of other smaller projects that are in the works that may bring additional variety of inventory online sooner. Ill be open-minded to any project that brings additional housing options online, including many varieties of deed restriction. Each of these must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.7. What more can Avon do to take advantage of its place at the base of Beaver Creek and provide a great experience for tourists?We have made great progress in this area in the past few years. Our cooperative marketing efforts should continue. Continuing to improve our connectivity to both Beaver Creek and Vail is important. A variety of transportation improvements have been implemented and I will continue the regional efforts to improve these links in an equitable fashion.Avon is actively looking for events unique to the community but that mesh with our world-class neighbors. Pond hockey, triathlon, lacrosse and soccer events fit that role nicely and enhance the image of Avon and our gem, the Harry A. Nottingham Park. The riverfront park and our water enhancements should gain additional exposure for the town in the years to come.8. Why should Avon residents vote for you?I have the time and drive to work for all stakeholders, the experience needed, an open mind and I care about all members of our community.Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 970-748-2955 or email@example.com.
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