Hospital expansion will not be threat to Vail, researcher says |

Hospital expansion will not be threat to Vail, researcher says

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

People they talked to: Ford Frick, of BBC Research, who conducted a study of the economic impacts of the hospital on the town.

What they talked about: Frick assured town leaders that the hospital’s much-discussed expansion downvalley does not have to be a negative for the town of Vail.

The hospital, which cites space constraints at its Vail campus, actually has a rather minor economic impact on the town, bringing in a little more than $5 million to Vail through employees, patients and hospital guests, Frick said.

“(The hospital) still has other intangible benefits you should keep in your forethought,” Frick said. “It employs many of your residents and helps keep seasonal stability. It also provides an image to this area and reinforces Vail as the center of the area.”

However, he did encourage the town to work to keep Steadman Hawkins Clinic and orthopedic services in town – those patients tend to come from out of town, stay longer and bring guests with them, Frick said.

He also said the hospital, as a nonprofit organization, does not pay property taxes and generates minimal sales tax for the town. If the hospital clears some of the space it is using in Vail, the town could fill the space with more tax-generating businesses, he said.

While some in Vail have worried that a downvalley move by the hospital would severely hurt the town, Frick said that the hospital has been successfully opening new facilities outside of Vail for decades.

People they talked to: Special Events Coordinator Sybill Navas.

How they voted: Yes – all in favor.

What they said: The town council agreed that as long as events were beneficial to the town of Vail, partnering with other areas to sponsor an event would be a good idea.

Town leaders struggled with the issue after the Vail Film Festival, which is partly funded by the town, announced that Beaver Creek might help fund the festival and that half of the films might be hosted in Beaver Creek.

The council said that as events grew, it only made sense that they would outgrow Vail physically. However, they said they wanted to make sure that events kept the Vail name and the Vail brand, especially if the town had helped grow the event.

“I don’t want to give away an event just because someone said they’d help out and host some part,” said Councilman Kevin Foley.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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