Evans is a familiar face in Avon | VailDaily.com

Evans is a familiar face in Avon

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS Chris Evans DT 10-11-10

AVON, Colorado – For business owners, surviving the recession has been all about making tough choices.

Chris Evans says his construction company, Evans Chaffee Construction Group in Avon, has been no exception. He has had to trim budgets to stay afloat.

“I think the ability to make tough decisions when needed is something that would benefit me on Town Council,” Evans said.

Evans is running for Town Council in Tuesday’s election. He hopes his track record as a local business owner and experience on the town’s planning commission will help him get elected.

Evans served on the planning commission from 1997 to 2009 – an experience that he says armed him with helpful background knowledge.

“Since that time, I’ve missed being involved in the town,” Evans said.

If he scores a seat on council, he will face plenty of those tough decisions. Avon is bracing for an upcoming property tax shortfall in 2012 due to the reassessment. The town also claims Traer Creek Metropolitan District owes $3.3 million in outstanding payments.

Evans said he’s concerned that the town has been spending more than it has been taking into the capital improvement fund.

“We can’t keep spending money we’re not taking in,” he said.

Because he is not in favor of raising taxes to balance the budget, Evans he said the town must cut expenses.

“I think there’s going to be a need to further cut budgets and to potentially delay capital projects based on funding and based on our ability to afford them as a town,” Evans said. “Everyone wants to see things get built. I’m a builder. That’s what I do but I also recognize the fact that you have to have a financially healthy town. You can’t continue to spend, spend, spend.”

For example, the town plans to spend $750,000 to add a bike lane along Metcalf Road next year and time that work with an $800,000 project to improve drainage along the road.

Evans would rather wait a summer and look into an alternative: a bike path connecting Nottingham Road to June Creek and Singletree in Edwards.

Similarly, he thinks the proposed pavilion project at Nottingham Park has come in way over budget – bids have come in around $600,000, about twice the project budget – and should either be cut back so grants can cover it or be shelved. He also said the town needs a firm plan for how to use the pavilion before building it.

Although some projects should wait, Evans said he wants to look into whether others with time-sensitive grants should move forward.

As for the proposed Main Street – a concept he helped to plan – Evans would like to see the town wait until it has the money to do it right.

“I would love to see it developed right now, if we could afford it and that’s the big catch on it right now,” Evans said. “We can’t afford it. I know there have been some proposals to kind of do it halfway or cut it significantly. I think that would be, potentially, a determent to the overall project and ultimately end up costing the town more money in the long run.”

As far as the rift between the town and Traer Creek, Evans said he’s been involved in his share of conflict resolutions and he thinks the process can work. However, he said conflict resolution can be difficult if either side is relying on irrational arguments.

“It may be that the only solution is a court-oriented solution,” he said. “I don’t believe anybody wins going to court and I would prefer to do everything possible to keep it from going to court. Unfortunately, sometimes that may be our only remedy.”

In general, Evans said he would like to see the town stay family-friendly. The 42-year-old Wildridge resident has three daughters, ages 12, 10 and 4, and has lived in the town since 1995. He holds two degrees in aerospace engineering, a bachelor’s from the University of Virginia and a master’s from University of Colorado at Boulder. His company, Evans Chaffee Construction Group, has built such local landmarks as Spago and the Beaver Creek Landing.

Given his background as a business owner, he says he wants to help jump-start local businesses by making the town more pedestrian friendly. He does not want to see big, boxy commercial buildings take over the town.

“I want it to be more of a pedestrian scale, walkable community that is vibrant and has a reason for people to want to walk around it, to want to go there,” he said.

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.

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