Donovan Park parcel is Vail’s latest ‘park’ |

Donovan Park parcel is Vail’s latest ‘park’

Scott N. Miller
Special to the Daily/Town of VailThe so-called middle bench of Donovan Park is now an official Vail park. The Town Council voted Tuesday to give the property its new designation.

VAIL – It took two tries, but the so-called “middle bench” of Donovan Park now has “park” status.The Vail Town Council Tuesday voted 5-2, with council members Kim Ruotolo and Greg Moffet opposed – to make the parcel an official town park. The designation on the now-open land is important, since it moves the property one step closer to virtually permanent preservation as open space. The town council voted this year to designate 17 town-owned pieces of property as official open space. Only voters can change that designation. The three parcels the council voted on Tuesday were considered for the town’s open space inventory, but needed to become official town parks for the council to take the final step of limiting their use.Councilman Farrow Hitt, who moved to create the new park, said the Donovan Park parcel should be protected by virtue of its name if nothing else. Hitt also noted that the property was the first land in Vail purchased with money from the town’s Real Estate Transfer Tax, or RETT.”With all that, it should be designated a park,” Hitt said.But that designation wasn’t easy.A resolution prepared by the town staff originally included three parcels for designation. In a motion to approve the resolution, Moffet dropped the Donovan Park property.

“I just want to vote on it separately,” he said.Moffet’s motion passed 5-2, with councilmen Dick Cleveland and Farrow Hitt opposed.Hitt then immediately offered his own motion to put the park label on the Donovan Park property.During the discussion on that motion, Wolf Mueller, a longtime resident of the nearby Matterhorn neighborhood, urged the council to protect the property.”It should be a park,” he said.Both Moffet and Ruotolo have said the town should keep its options open at Donovan Park. If the town later turns the property into open space, those options will essentially vanish. That part of Donovan Park has been eyed as a spot for affordable housing over the years, proposals that have drawn heated opposition from residents of the nearby Matterhorn neighborhood.”Greg, we’ve talked about this in private and we disagree,” Hitt said. “But this should be a park.”

Now it is.Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or Daily, Vail Colorado

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