Bill post returns to valley
The 54-year-old, longtime resident of the Vail Valley was nearly killed in a motorcycle crash June 9 on Interstate 70 near Wolcott. But in the ensuing weeks, he battled himself out of a dire coma and is on his way to an anticipated full recovery that has amazed even his doctors.
“It’s amazing –every week he just makes tremendous progress,” said Tom Reed, a close friend of Post for more than 30 years. “For a while, we didn’t think he would ever recover and if he did, we didn’t know how well he would function.”
While Post, a lawyer and Colorado native, is still overcoming his injuries, he was well enough Saturday to make his first trip back to the valley since his accident. His first stop was a tour of the Village at Avon – the large shopping and residential complex that he has spearheaded over the last decade.
The day of his crash, the Village was not much more than a vastness of dirt, mud and construction materials. On Saturday, Post walked paved parking lots, inspected the half-built edifices of The Home Depot and Wal-Mart, and saw the beginnings of wide road that will be named after him –William J. Post Boulevard, which will connect I-70 and U.S. Highway 6.
“It’s changed an inch or two since I was here last,” Post said.
Post has been the most public face of the development that is transforming both the town of Avon and the valley. Post has guided the project through countless public hearings at Avon Town Hall, negotiating with disgruntled neighbors and convincing sometimes skeptical town leaders. He also dealt with the local press, with whom he argued about their repeated use of the words “massive” and “sprawling” to describe the Village at Avon.
“It’s obviously big, but it’s well-planned,” he joked Saturday.
The 1,800-acre Village at Avon was approved by Avon Town Council in 1998. The development company, Traer Creek LLC –which was formed by landowner Magnus Lindholm – was given the go ahead to build 650,000 square feet of commercial space and 2,400 residential units on land on both sides of I-70 that has been annexed into the town of Avon.
Post is also partner in the development.
Currently under construction are The Wal-Mart and Home Depot, a new I-70 interchange, connecting roads and an approximately 240-unit affordable housing complex called Buffalo Ridge on the north side of the interstate.
“It’s actually pretty impressive,” Post said surveying the bustling construction site. “It looks like everything is in the right place.”
The four-lane Post Boulevard will run from the new I-70 interchange and behind the two big-box stores. It will then run past the parking lots, under the railroad tracks and over a new Eagle River bridge to a roundabout at Highway 6. The roundabout will replace the current Nottingham Ranch Road intersection.
Workers have built half of the new bridge and it already dwarfs the old Nottingham Ranch Road bridge, which will be demolished.
Workers hope to the finish the bridge and the roundabout before winter. The Home Depot and Wal-Mart are also planning to finish their building before the snow starts so the interiors of the stores can be built during the winter.
The Home Depot plans to open next summer with Wal-Mart and the interchange following in the fall.
Future plans call for about 500 homes on the hills north of I-70. Traer Creek is still planning for the buildings that will surround The Home Depot and Wal-Mart. Nothing is definite but ideas being discussed include a convention center, an icerink, a movie theater and a discount gas station, Lindholm said in a recent interview.
In a few weeks, Post will leave the Denver hospital where he’s been undergoing rehabilitation. He will then go stay with Reed and his wife while he continues his rehabilitation.
“We hope to have him back in Vail by the end of November or early December,” Reed said.
Reed said he and Post –who was born in Gunnison – have been friends since the 10th grade, when they were in high school together outside of Denver. The two were also roommates at the University of Colorado.
“At this point a year from now, you won’t know he’s been in an accident,” Reed added.
Throughout the valley, Post has been described by those who worked with him –as well as those who have opposed the Village at Avon project – as honest, quick-witted and clever.
“He’s lively, he’s smart and sometimes he can be a little arrogant,” Reed said. “Billy’s got a lifetime of friends who are still with him because he’s a great person. He is truly a good, sensitive person.”
Eric Applegate, now an employee of Traer Creek, has worked for Post for 17 years. He said there’s a good reason he has worked for Post for such a long time.
“He works hard and tells the truth,” Applegate said.
Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.