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Council hopefuls make pitch for post

Matt Zalaznick

Well, the seven residents vying to fill the soon-to-be empty seat on Avon Town Council will make their pitches this afternoon to the six councilmen and women who will pick a new colleague.

Councilman Rick Cuny, the often blunt-spoken owner of Beaver Liquors, will attend his last council meeting tonight, about six months shy of completing his first four-year team. He resigned earlier this month because he and his family have moved to Edwards. Only those who live within the town limits of Avon can serve on Town Council.

There is no election in Avon when a council member resigns. The six remaining council members accept applications, then interview and chose a replacement.

The seven residents who have applied – one of whom the coucil may choose tonight to replace Cuny – are Bob Angel, Tab Bonidy, Rene Martinez, Steve Michonski, Tim Savage, Brian Sipes and Barbara Wilson.

“Every night I walk my dogs down Bear Trap Road and thank God for where I live and what I have,” said Savage, who owns a real estate appraisal business. “I want to be on the Town Council, not so much to give back to my community, as most others always say when running for such a position, but more so to protect what I currently have.”

In the upcoming months – and over the next 20 years – the Avon Town Council will have to oversee the construction of the sprawling Village at Avon shopping and residential complex on the eastern edge of Avon.

Retailing giants The Home Depot and Wal-Mart will build stores in the shopping center; and 2,400 homes are planned in the residential side of the project.

“Strategically placed development is a good thing, and it has to do with growth and the survival of a community. Look around the country and see what’s happened to areas that have no growth,” said Bonidy, who moved to Avon in 1995. “I am not of the mindset that I’m the last one who’s going to move here.”

Town council also will continue to negotiate with Vail Resorts on the company’s plan to build a gondola from Avon to the slopes at Beaver Creek’s Strawberry Park. Vail Resorts has asked Avon to help pay for the gondola and council members have said that would likely require a tax increase.

“The Gondola is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Savage said. “The town is doing just fine without a gondola and I believe that Vail Resorts will still have to build the gondola even without the town of Avon’s help. They need it more than we do.”

Avon will have even more say over the ski village that Vail Resorts wants to build between the Eagle River and the Seasons Building on Benchmark Road. The village, currently known as “Avon Landing,” which would be the launching point for the gondola, is entirely within the town limits.

“The reason I want to be on the town council is it gives me an opportunity to give back to the community that I’m living in with all of my expertise in working in large corporations over last 25 years,” said Angel, a semi-retired sales representative at the Vail Daily.

Michonski, a real estate broker at Prudential Gore Range Properties, said he doesn’t want Avon to lose its links to the slopes.

“Avon is definitely the retail center of the upper valley but I’d like to see it remain part of the ski industry and resort community, too,” Michonski said. “I think it’s vital not just to focus on strip malls.”

Of the five remaining council members, four of them live in Wildridge. Only Mike Brown, a Sunridge resident, lives in downtown Avon.

“I live on the lake, and I think there’s two different parts of Avon that need representation,” Michonski said.

Bonidy said he’d like to work on making Avon easier and safer for tourists and residents to walk around.

“There was thought given years ago to putting Avon Road underground and opening a pedestrian mall. I think that would be just a great thing,” Bonidy said. “That’s a future improvement and there’s a lot of work that goes into getting there but in the big picture if Avon was a little more pedestrian-friendly, it’d be a great thing.”

Avon Town Council members will hold interviews today from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the council chambers at Avon Town Hall. If a new council member is chosen tonight, that person will take his or her seat at the June 11 council meeting.

Matt Zalaznick covers public safety, Eagle County Courts and Avon/ Beaver

Creek. He can be reached at (970) 949-0555 ext. 606 or via e-mail at

mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.


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