Either-or just won’t do
Well, it should be an interesting week. On Tuesday at the evening session, the Vail Town Council discussed whether to proceed with an analysis of parking on Ford Park. The parking commission met on Thursday and everyone in attendance agreed that this was the best solution for this winter and possibly for the next five. When Lionshead is redeveloped, a final determination can be made as to how many spaces will then be needed and what location will best serve the community at that point.
Then came the glitch. Actually, here were two. To begin with, Vail Resorts made the statement that they are in a position to support an either/or, which is directly contrary to what was said in the past.
What is the “either” and what is the “or”? The “either” is the Ford Park option; the “or” is a new deck on the Lionshead structure. Apparently, doing both is not the offer. That puts a significant wrinkle in this whole concept. And also represents an absolutely different scenario than had previously been presented. It puts the TOV, once again, between a rock and a hard place.
So I guess we have to look again. Make no mistake, I’ll continue to reiterate, these are VRI’s customers first and foremost; ergo, the parking solution falls straight at their door. The Ford Park solution allows them a temporary fix on TOV land, while their other projects are completed. And “temporary” is the operative word for some groups that agreed to support it as a short-term solution but definitely not for the long haul.
What also must be remembered here is the kind of revenue our weekend guests bring to the ski company. CEO Adam Aron told me that the discounted passes are worth $30 million a year to VRI. Come on. Fix the parking temporarily. There’s no land cost involved, which gives a solution for five years. That’s a pretty good deal and a generous offer from the community. And then fix it again when redevelopment is completed. At $30 million a year, five years from now $150 million will have been generated by the discounted passes alone. Seems like that should more than cover it – might even leave a little spare change on the table. Either/or is not acceptable and will bring out the opposition.
The dilemma is, what now? It appears that the facts are not clear and that begs the question if the confusion is accidental or somehow contrived. Somehow, it feels like the convention center fiasco, but I’ll let you decide that. In any case, clarification is of the utmost importance and it has to happen pronto if a resolution is to be implemented for this winter.
Number two deals with the staff. Talk about turning a mountain into a molehill! The topic was using Ford Park as a temporary solution for parking. Keep the word “temporary” in mind. Put down the mats or artificial turf and park those cars. Well, if the TOV can’t make it complicated, nobody can. On the list were extra turn lanes, lights, bathrooms. I thought if I stayed another minute we’d be up to concession stands and live entertainment. Glaringly missing was any research on the mats as was requested at the last meeting. Must be they were so busy checking on stuff that nobody wanted that they couldn’t get information together on something essential.
What looked like any easy solution has become complicated because we can’t seem to get a simple and straight answer from either VRI or the TOV. Do you think it’s the altitude?
And now we can move on to the Thursday night meeting on the economy. The lists of suggestions for change are long and have been broken down into categories. Naturally, the TOV’s list has more on it than any other. But the good news is that it should be the most do-able. I mean, after all, it’s a TOV meeting to address TOV problems, mostly driven by budget issues. It should follow that the TOV would solve their own problems first. Put even more simply, their own problems are the only ones they can control immediately. Aren’t you supposed to lead by example? We’ll see how serious they are about this.
No. 1: New York Philharmonic. Here’s a good one. Through the Commission on Special Events, the Town of Vail donated $95,000 of the $495,00 used to entice the New York Philharmonic to the valley. An additional $60,000 came via the lodging tax from the Vail Local Marketing District for marketing. The balance of dollars came from private donations. So why would the majority of the musicians be staying in Beaver Creek? Of 140-plus rooms, 100 are going to the Hyatt in Beaver Creek and 40 to the Antlers in Vail. If the TOV is making a huge contribution to this endeavor, wouldn’t it make sense that maybe, just maybe, we would have the logical expectation that some of the peripheral amenities-necessities would be provided here, as well? If nobody else could see the problem, with a foot in each camp, surely our mayor should have. He not only was on this end signing the check but he was fast at work in Beaver Creek knowing full well the housing arrangements. Doesn’t that typify the definition of “conflict of interest”? We know who he works for; how about who he’s elected by?
No. 2: Arts Festival. Another great summer event. But why would the Lionshead merchants create such a fuss to make sure that no vendors made their way to Vail Village this year and then give the event producer fits about booth locations? Space was limited since VRI would not allow use of the ski yard this year – seems the grass was damaged last year. Hey guys, it’s only grass. Gotta hope the grass issue is resolved before we proceed with the Front Door project. One of the main goals of the community is to be able to use that area for events. But we wouldn’t want the green stuff to get hurt.
For past columns, vaildaily.com-search:ferry
Kaye Ferry, founding president of the Vail Chamber and Business Association, is a longtime observer of Vail government. She writes a weekly column for the Daily.