Council delays decision on information centers |

Council delays decision on information centers

Scott N. Miller
NWS Info Centre DT 9-09 Vail Daily/ Dominique Taylor Dan Parker, left, from Louisiana gets the low down on the best shopping in Vail from Information Specialist Annette Ramer Thursday at the Lionshead Information Centre.

VAIL – The 11th hour came and went without a decision.The Vail Town Council Tuesday delayed signing a new contract for operating the town’s two visitor centers, asking for more time to evaluate competing bids.After reviewing bids from the Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau and the Vail Chamber and Business Association, town staff had recommended continuing its association with the Chamber and Tourism Bureau, which has run the centers for about 30 years.Business Association members asked the council to reconsider the staff’s recommendation, claiming the Vail-only group would better serve local businesses.

Chamber and Tourism Bureau director Frank Johnson said his organization has both long experience at running the centers as well as a track record of serving Vail businesses. While his group has members throughout the valley, Johnson said the information centers keep their focus east of Dowd Junction.”We try to accommodate the needs of Vail first at the centers, end of story,” Johnson said.Councilman Farrow Hitt, owner of the Park Meadows Lodge, said the Chamber and Tourism Bureau has done a “fairly good job” over the years.”I’m not satisfied with business as usual,” Hitt said. “We need to re-define what information we’re trying to get out. The information booths should be all about Vail.”After more than an hour of back-and-forth discussion about which of the two business groups is best equipped to operate the booths, council members decided they needed more time to sign a new contract. While the current contract with the Chamber and Tourism Bureau expires Sept. 30, Johnson said his group will run the centers until the council makes a decision.Information on the centers was provided to the council the day of the meeting, and Councilman Dick Cleveland said the discussion about which group should land the approximately $170,000 per year contract should have taken place in July.Over the next few weeks, town staff, with the addition of council members Hitt and Kim Ruotolo, will interview the applicants, and a decision could be made at the first meeting in October.

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or boothWhat: Town information centersWhere: Lionshead and Vail Village parking garages

What they do: Offer information about lodging, dining and activities in town. Concert tickets are also sold at the centers.Who runs them: Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau.Who uses them: In 2003 about 102,000 people stopped into the two centers.=========================Vail Daily, Vail Colorado

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