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Ferry: Listen up, Vail leaders

Kaye Ferry
Vail CO, Colorado

After getting off to a very bad start, Vail’s loading and delivery discussion has at least been toned down with fewer impassioned speeches and more constructive ideas geared toward solution.

The Town Council’s goal to “come up with an operational plan utilizing the new loading and delivery facilities” that are moving towards completion was the center of the July 19 discussion held with the newly formed committee as well as a wide variety of citizens and interested parties.

After the roles of the working group were outlined and the ground rules for the process reviewed, the group got down to the nuts and bolts of the day’s agenda.



In an attempt to establish criteria against which of the program’s progress can be measured, the group was asked to create a list of their expectations for any new system that is to be implemented.

The second part of the conversation dealt with analyzing the current system in terms of what works and what doesn’t.



While the discussion is a long way from over, the choices for implementation range from business as usual to all trucks off all streets all the time. It seems pretty clear that an accommodation somewhere in the middle is what will ultimately prevail.

Another range for consideration goes from pleasing everyone at all times to pleasing no one ever. Again, it’s fair to assume that the middle range will be the likely outcome of any new system with the hope of creating a process that meets the expectations of most constituents.

The town manager who facilitated the discussion clarified a previous point of contention. We are not in a rush and there are no drop-dead dates that have been determined. We have lived with our current system for 45 years and will continue to employ it until a reasonable alternative can be agreed upon.



The next meeting is scheduled from 11 a.m. ” 1 p.m. Aug. 2 in the Transportation Center conference room next to the information center. The public is invited and I would encourage anyone interested in the outcome of this process to attend.

And as long as we’re in the Transportation Center, this fits in to the “just thought you might want to know” category. Here’s why the Town of Vail needed to re-roof the Vail Village parking structure in the busiest week of the summer, therefore closing down the info booth and allowing for a loud, dirty and disruptive construction project when guests were trying to enjoy themselves and the businesses were trying to finally make a sale: It wasn’t really the re-roofing that was the issue. That was only triggered by the installation of solar panels in the building.

If it weren’t so ridiculous, it’d be funny. They’re installing solar panels in a building that clearly doesn’t need them in an attempt to once again say we are environmentally sensitive, all the while heating the streets, to say nothing of $94,000 spent to prove the same point with windmills. And we do this during the busiest week of the summer at the expense of the guest and the business community. Now I ask you, does this make sense? I guess only if you’re a beaurocrat. They seem to play by a different set of rules if they play by any at all.

And now for some more irony. At the July 3 Vail Town Council meeting, an Arts in Public Places proposal was discussed whereby a $50,000 commitment to art from the Willows redevelopment could be used for an off-site project. Additionally, the developer is willing to match those funds with another $50,000.

The great debate included discussion of the proper use of those funds, the value received, the appropriateness of going off-site. Blah blah blah. As if $100,000 all of a sudden means something. I think it’s called selective something or other. How quickly they forget the speed with which they approved an almost equal amount for windmills.

Then they moved to Timber Ridge. One councilman’s comments centered on the parking requirements for this redevelopment. Let’s don’t make the same mistake we did with Middle Creek and require more parking spaces than necessary. He further expounded that if only someone had asked, they probably would have lessened the requirements when Middle Creek was built.

Come on. Over and over that suggestion was made only to fall on deaf ears.

So the lament of the night was “if we only knew” when it should have been “if we only listened” because the truth of the matter is that some of them don’t stop moving their mouths long enough to hear the information they’re being given. It’s often amazing what the connection is. Sometimes when you close your mouth your ears open.

And here’s a notice. Any member of the Vail Town Council who flips the bird to any member of this community will see their name in print right here. Enough is enough. It’s their personal decision to be a public servant. Apparently some of them don’t get it. The get elected to listen. Then they’re paid to listen. Period.

But we all have choices. If they don’t like their job, they can resign. If we don’t like the job they’re doing, we shouldn’t vote for them again. Or we can recall them. Because I’ll ask again, “Who works for whom?”

And finally. I’ve been saying for some time that these guys don’t get it. Apparently the community agrees. I’ll do a complete re-cap later but for now, here’s one key point that was shared by the consultants at the last Vail Town Council meeting. The town council’s survey ranking plummeted from 3.2/5.0 in 2005 to 2.8/5.0 in 2007. Think that’ll be a awake up? My guess is not. What do you think?

Do your part: call them and write them. To contact the Town Council, call 479-1860, ext. 8, or e-mail towncouncil@vailgov.com. To contact Vail Resorts, call 476-5601 or e-mail vailinfo@vailresorts.com. For past columns, go to vaildaily.com and click on “Commentary” or search for keyword “ferry.”

Kaye Ferry is a longtime observer of Vail government. She writes a biweekly column for the Daily.


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