‘Historic’ agreement between Vail, rec district | VailDaily.com

‘Historic’ agreement between Vail, rec district

VAIL ” New agreements between the town of Vail and the Vail Rec District ” two governments whose relationship, a few years ago, was decidedly strained ” signals a new era of cooperation, officials said Wednesday.

And the new lease agreements will speed improvements to the golf course, Dobson Arena and other places where the rec district operates, said Executive Director Mike Ortiz.

“I would say it’s the biggest thing that’s happened to the rec district in 15, 20 years,” Ortiz said.

Improvements will get started with fixing crumbling tee boxes at Holes 3 and 7 as well as a new irrigation system for the golf course, Ortiz said.

The town owns the golf course, the arena, the Ford Park Tennis Center and the Vail Gymnastics Center, and the Vail Rec District ” a separate governmental entity that collects its own taxes ” operates them.

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For years, fuzzy language in decades-old leases left unclear the responsibilities of who should pay for what improvements at the facilities.

The Vail Town Council agreed to a new golf course lease Tuesday. A separate lease agreement that addressed Dobson, the tennis center and other facilities was approved earlier this year.

“It’s a historic agreement,” said Councilman Mark Gordon. “For years and years, the relationship between the VRD and the town of Vail has been ambiguous and almost set up structurally to fail.”

Under the new golf-course lease, the rec district will pay about $2.9 million for improvements over the next five years, while the town will contribute about $3.1 million over that time span.

After that, the rec district will pay for 69 percent of upkeep and maintenance at the golf course, and the town will pay for 31 percent.

The Vail Recreation District is handling interior finishes and maintenance, while the town will handle exteriors and mechanical systems and structural components of buildings, Ortiz said.

The town also would finance a new irrigation system for the course, with the rec district paying back half the cost over five years.

“Without this step, without a long-term lease, the VRD had few avenues to turn to financially,” said Rick Sackbauer, a Vail Rec District board member. “This opens up many options, and the town agreeing to assist in the financing is a tremendous first step for the financing of improvements immediately needed.”

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.

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