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Doomed, they tell you

Don Rogers

Well, there’s a fine vision of optimism, a bright ray of hope, in the column to the left of this space. (For Web reader’s that’s today’s Kaye Ferry column.)

Children to get crushed on the Frontage Road – though that never has happened – on their way to the ski mountain, where people do in fact get hurt. Sounds like a Monty Python joke: The mountain can be dangerous. Quick, shut down the parking.

And oh, the woe, all that bureaucracy between today and having renovated shopping villages! Let’s not aim for completion. Instead let’s complain about dumb editors pointing out that major, major projects are finally on the boards? Yeah, that’s just horrible for Vail’s economic future. Real improvements actually under way – terrible!

Better to panic, stamp out Frontage Road parking, try to kill the conference center, fuss over sign codes and other regulations. Sure, that’ll solve everything.

Is she nuts? It’s the parking? Really?

It’s not the snow, the value, the variety, the lodging quality, the adjustment to more thrifty clients (whether “destination” or Front Range visitors), the airline trends, the national economy, which by the way looks to be headed toward a rebound?

Anyone care to look over at the considerably larger struggles of other ski towns these past few years? Vail – No. 1 in the SKI magazine universe and sheer number of visitors voting with their pocketbooks – must have done something right to weather the lean times as well as it has.

For all this “lack” of municipal leadership, things aren’t nearly so bad as advertised. OK, the 2005 Vailhala date is optimistic – though not entirely impossible – for the town to, yes, glisten anew. Or begin so, anyway.

It is election season, so challengers have to peg their hopes on the horrors the incumbents have wrought. Let’s see. A billion or so dollars worth of gentrification on the boards. Affordable housing well on the way toward being solved for renters, if no longer quite the gravy train the landlords have long enjoyed. Streetscape headed toward reality, yes, even with that blasted snowmelt. The Ford Amphitheater revamped, Dobson upgraded, maybe even the golf course freshened up someday. The mountain itself has seen nothing but improvements this past handful of years. And even inconvenient parking – please, let’s not exaggerate a relative molehill – in the long term has an answer in one more layer at the Lionshead parking structure.

The community now has that center residents once clamored for, in the Donovan Pavilion.

This yowling, painful as it all sounds, is over a relative hangnail. Hate to tell you.

Sure, the town has challenges. But 99 percent of “normal” American towns would kill to have Vail’s utter crises.


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