Beaver Creek gondola approaches lift-off |

Beaver Creek gondola approaches lift-off

Staff Reports

Beaver Creek moved closer this week to a gondola link between the resort and the Town of Avon.”We finalized the Beaver Creek agreement this week, and we’re hoping to finalize in the next 10 days the Bachelor Gulch commitment,” Beaver Creek chief operating officer John Garnsey said of negotiations with the respective homeowner’s groups that will contribute $5 million apiece to the $23.5 million project.”The remaining $13.5 million is the responsibility of Vail Resorts, and we may or may not receive any help from Avon, but our discussions with Avon will be relative to associated infrastructure, not the gondola itself.”Garnsey adds that the earliest that construction would begin is the spring of 2004.The Forest Service last week approved construction of the segment of the gondola on White River National Forest land. That segment of the three-stage gondola extends from Bachelor Gulch to the top of Strawberry Park.The entire gondola would run from the Town of Avon to the top of Beaver Creek. The first two proposed stages would be on private land from the Town of Avon Confluence Site to Bachelor Gulch, and do not require Forest Service approval.The purpose of the gondola, according to Vail Resorts, is to provide improved transportation between Avon and Beaver Creek. Other alternatives considered were increasing the number of buses traveling from the base parking lots to the ski area, widening the road to accommodate more traffic and building a European-style funicular or cable train that would have crossed the Beaver Creek golf course.”Due to the increasing development in Avon, we anticipate greater demand at Beaver Creek,” said District Ranger Cal Wettstein. “I believe this decision will result in fewer environmental impacts to the community and the Forest.”The Forest Service decision is subject to appeal. A written notice of appeal must be received or postmarked by April 28. Notice must be sent to USDA Forest Service, White River National Forest, Attn: Appeal Deciding Officer, P.O. Box 948, Glenwood Springs, CO 81602-0948.For more information on the decision or to receive a copy of the final environmental assessment, contact the USFS’s Dave Ozawa at (970) 827-5715 or slashes budget,staff positionsOutgoing Vail Town Manager Bob McLaurin Tuesday, March 18 delivered to the Vail Town Council a list of $1.6 million in proposed budget cuts aimed at balancing the town’s operations over the next two years.Most of the proposed cuts, about $1.1 million, are internal and are being initiated by McLaurin, who April 11 departs to take the town manager job in Jackson, Wyo.Another $551,000 in cuts will require approval by the council, McLaurin said, because of their impact on town services and economic development initiatives.The cuts include $482,000 in savings resulting from a total reduction of 10.5 full-time equivalent positions in 2003 and 2004. The most notable staffing change is the elimination of department director Annie Fox’s position at the Vail Public Library.Other staffing changes include the following job cuts: a full-time police detective, full-time police officer, full-time bus driver, part-time housing assistant, part-time town clerk assistant and a part-time police computer tech. In addition, the Art In Public Places coordinator position has been scaled back from 30 hours per week to a 20 hour weekly schedule and a full-time deputy court clerk has been reassigned from 40 hours per week to 30 hours weekly. Also, 11 seasonal positions have been eliminated, including four parking hosts, four summer landscapers, two bus drivers and a parking clerk.15 arrested at String Cheese showsVail Police made 15 arrests at the String Cheese Incident concerts at Dobson Ice Arena in Vail Monday and Tuesday, March 17-18. Police stepped up enforcement during the concerts to tackle illegal drug activity and vandalism during last year’s concerts.This week’s arrests netted 14 adults and one juvenile for offenses ranging from possession of marijuana, ecstasy and psilocybin mushrooms to resisting arrest, underage possession of alcohol, disorderly conduct and indecent exposure.County buys Golden Eagle ApartmentsThe Eagle County Board of Commissioners signed a deal Friday, March 14 to purchase the Golden Eagle Apartments, a seniors housing complex in Eagle.Acting in concert with the Golden Eagle Elderly Housing Corp., the county paid $1.6 million to former Golden Eagle owner and manager Eagle Manor Ltd. Partnership.”I’m told the seniors are dancing down at the Golden Eagle,” said Tom Stone, county commissioner and president of the housing corporation. “They’ve been extremely supportive as we worked out the purchase. After the dancing, I hope they sleep well tonight.”Johnnette Phillips, former Eagle County commissioner and a longtime advocate for seniors, organized an official celebration Tuesday, March 18. Phillips was recently appointed to the Golden Eagle Elderly Housing Corp. and will serve as corporation secretary.Funding for the purchase of the 36-unit complex came from a $1 million loan, combined with $258,000 from Eagle County and a $310,000 grant from the state.q– Vail Trail staff reports

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