Letters to the editor
This past winter I attended a school board meeting at Battle Mountain High School so I could get more information about the proposed changes to Eagle County Schools. After the meeting I went on-line and filled out the survey about the proposed changes. I also e-mailed the school district asking for more information about the issues facing the Eagle County School District, and I got no reply from them. I was not even given the courtesy of a reply telling me the district did not have the required information available at this time. The information I requested from the school district was simple: a mere request for school district history. What information had the school district used in the past to decide what schools to build, and where to build them? What were the demographics and schools populations at that time? It was merely a request for the same information the district is using to look at the current situation, only from the past. The request seemed simple enough. No response.The reason I was requesting such information is that it appears from the demographics and school population numbers the school district is providing to the general public, some of the schools are overcrowded, while others are under-crowded. Even with the expected increase of school-age children in Eagle County, our current schools seem to have the capacity to handle the new students without building any new facilities for the next 10 years. Over the years the district has made decisions to build or not build new schools and probably used much of the same information they are using today to make those decisions. Even though those decisions to build new schools might have solved the problem at the time, it appears that 10, 20, or 30 years later those decisions don’t appear to have been the right ones. Since so many of the schools are underutilized while others are over-utilized, it would appear that the district built new schools in the wrong place in the past. Hindsight is 20-20, so I hope the school board and taxpayers will look closely at what has happened in the past to make decisions that will impact all of us in the future. There is so much development and proposed development going on currently, just as in the past, that it seems nearly impossible to predict where the future children will be living and where they need to go to school. The school district and taxpayers need to look closely at any proposed taxes increases to build new schools without first considering the full utilization of all existing schools in the district. It would be a waste of taxpayers’ money to invest more money to solve the current problems, and in 10, 20, or 30 years find out that the schools were built in the wrong place again. Randy GalerEagle-VailWhat’s realistic?As someone who is still on the fence on the (Vail conference center) issue, I would like to pose these questions to the supporters and signers of those letters.The first question concerns off-season. I assume you mean times such as now, going back to when the mountain closed, and forward to what, Fourth of July? Now, let’s look at what we’ve had to offer in the last month for potential visitors. Weather. We all know what early spring brings to the valley in the way of weather. It rains, it snows, it’s sunny, it’s cold, it’s warm. It’s a little of everything. We have some snow, some mud, some grass, and maybe some flowers. Bottom line, not our best presentation. Imagine yourself as a salesperson representing the convention center, walking into a presentation with that package.Next is activities. The gondola is closed, thus closing the mountain. The trails are still too muddy to ride bikes on the mountain. The rafting companies are still training and hiring. The Vail golf course is not open, meaning conventioneers who want to play golf will be spending money downvalley. The tennis courts are not open. Most hotel outdoor pools are not open. So what do we have to offer? Why would people come here in the off-season? It’s hard to imagine the recreational monies these groups bring not being spent downvalley, thus defeating the purpose of the center. Imagine yourself as a salesperson representing the convention center walking into a presentation with that package.Rates. What will it take to attract groups to Vail during off-season? How low will the hotels have to go room rate wise? How much can the center charge for usage and food and beverage. We already know that most restaurants in town have to run specials such as two-for-ones in order to attract business. Do we think that guests will pay full price for off-season? And what type of groups would come here in the off-season? Clearly it is groups that cannot afford to come during season, and thus will be looking for a deal, a really good deal. Filling the town with people who have no money to spend doesn’t pay the bills. What can we offer during off-season besides discounted rates?Safety net. Do we as taxpayers have one in this deal? Are the signers and supporters of those letters willing to put up some money? Right now, we can’t even fix the golf course without going to the taxpayers for money. We couldn’t come up with the money for the skating rink bubble. In general, most people are very skeptical about how the town functions financially. How long before we as taxpayers are asked to foot the bill for the convention center deficit? Who gets the bill if this thing simply does not work? Doesn’t the risk/reward ratio seem off? I think these are questions that have not, maybe cannot, be answered, and that leaves me on the fence. I am all for more off-season business, and doing what we can to attract it. But reality is what it is. We have little to offer guests during late April and May, as well as October and early November. That’s why we have an off-season to begin with. It is one of the harsh economic realities of the valley. A convention center may be a start towards building off-season business, but so many other things have to fall into place to make that happen, maybe too many to be realistic. Rick SilvermanVail Moving onWell, we’re finally out of Happy Valley as permanent residents. We’ve moved down to Denver and now live near Cherry Creek. It was an interesting place for me to live in for 13 years. I didn’t feel I’d made much progress. But I must have made at least some. I didn’t feel I’d developed any really close friends. But I received help and support for my sometimes far-fetched projects – trying to set up a Greek Orthodox church community, making a film, selling Gilman (no, it wasn’t me who sold it to Bobby Ginn) – from some unexpected and generous sources. The Eagle River Valley is an unusual place, at least based on my experience with all kinds of other places. It’s rural, but it has an urban mentality. It’s tough, but it’s friendly. It’s selfish, but it’s generous on its own terms. It’s a good place to come to rich. There’s a very welcoming community for that. It’s a tough place to make it in if you don’t come in with much. It’s a nice place to live in. But its towns and communities need to make a better job of common cause and not think they are so disparate one from another. It’s a good place to come to and think things over. It’s a great place to come from. I want to thank everyone for both Stase and me and wish you all well. I’ll still be around. Only now, just like for some of our other part-time residents, it’ll be because it’s a second home for us. Best wishes.Gus NicholsonVail, Colorado
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Vail’s updated plans regarding the state guidelines and isolation housing requirements is one of several pieces of information guests are waiting on heading into the 2020-21 season.