Avon not giving up on Main Street | VailDaily.com

Avon not giving up on Main Street

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

AVON, Colorado – With the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships looming on the horizon, the town of Avon wants to make sure its proposed Main Street project gets at least some approvals between now and then.

The Avon Urban Renewal Authority, which consists of Avon Town Council members but acts as a different governing body, talked about the economic challenges of building Main Street Tuesday afternoon.

The project was delayed in the fall of 2008 because of the economic downturn that slowed development within the West Town Center District, primarily development of the Westin Riverfront timeshares and the East West Partners condominium project.

A new proposal includes two options for construction that could start as the proposed development happens in the West Town Center District – the development in the area would provide the town with revenues that would allow for construction of Main Street in phases.

The earliest construction would happen would be about two years from now, assuming the town has the money to build the project.

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Town engineers whittled away some of the luxuries in the project that could create $4 million in savings by removing artwork, snowmelt and decorative concrete.

“That’s a fairly significant cost savings in terms of the overall budget,” said Justin Hildreth, town engineer.

The $4 million savings would bring the project cost down to about $8.5 million, but implementing the changes in construction drawings would end up requiring more design work, Hildreth said.

The phasing options include a two-phase project or a three-phase project.

A two-phase project would begin with the eastern half of the street, extending from Benchmark Road to the middle of the Seasons building, and would end with construction on the western half of the project, from the middle of the Seasons building to Lake Street at Harry A. Nottingham Park.

The first phase would connect Riverfront development with Avon Station and would cost between $4 million and $4.5 million, about the same as the second phase would cost.

The three-phase option would start with the eastern side of the project, from Avon Road to Main Street, up to and including Lettuce Shed Lane. Phase two would follow along the northern property boundary of the Seasons building and phase three would build from the Seasons building to Lake Street, including Literary Lane and improvements to Benchmark Road.

The options sounds nice, but Urban Renewal Authority members know they can’t get their hopes up about building the full project by 2015 because of the economy.

“Financially it just doesn’t make any sense,” said member Brian Sipes. “Even if the bond market was perfect and valuations stayed the same, we couldn’t do this project until after 2015.”

The Urban Renewal Authority members agreed they should look at doing something before the World Alpine Ski Championships – the very event that prompted discussions over the project in the first place, Sipes said.

Members said they would like to “dress up” the area without doing the full project, especially the expensive underground infrastructure work.

The primary goal is to provide a connection between the gondola at the Westin Riverfront and Harry A. Nottingham Park.

The Urban Renewal Authority members said they would talk about options at their October budget retreat.

“Our thinking caps need to go on,” Sipes said. “What can we do under current budget restraints?”

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com.

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