Locals impressed with Ever Vail plans | VailDaily.com

Locals impressed with Ever Vail plans

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS Ever Vail Open House 1 DT 12-9-08

VAIL, Colorado ” Some local residents said they were impressed with Vail Resorts’ plans for what would be the town’s next ski village.

Vail Resorts officials laid out plans for Ever Vail, the $1.5 billion “green” village proposed for West Lionshead, at an open house Wednesday night. The project, which calls for 11 acres of shops, restaurants, hotels, housing, offices, parking and a new gondola, is in the initial phases of the town review process.

The company emphasized the project’s sustainability, pointing out plans for using solar and thermal energy, revitalizing Red Sandstone Creek and using pine beetle wood.

Edwards resident David Huffman said he was impressed with the magnitude of the project, and he was glad the resort is shooting for such high environmental qualifications.

“I really do believe they’re targeting a different generation. It’s a cleaner, smarter village that focuses on lifestyle,” he said. “It makes sense.”

Brett Chaffin, who works in Vail and in Keystone’s building industry, said the size of the project and the level of environmental certification is impressive.

“I don’t think I’ve seem something of this magnitude in Keystone or anywhere,” he said of the project’s green aspirations. “It will definitely raise the bar or set a new bar for developments.”

Vail resident Larry Sherberg said the plans show the resort is looking ahead to the future, and the village could help alleviate some local problems, too.

“If it’s diverting traffic and giving us more parking, those are all plusses,” he said.

Edwards resident Katherine Wilson said she was very interested in the project and liked the fact that it is designed to be a live-work community. Vail Resort planners said they want most of the village’s employee housing to be within Ever Vail, and that the housing would include for-sale homes as well as rentals.

“It has a community feel to it. I think the concept is very exciting,” she said, adding that as a ski instructor, she might want to live in Ever Vail.

However, many residents also said they wanted to see Ever Vail benefit the local community and its youth.

“I’d appreciate a rec center for locals, something like down in Gypsum or the Avon Rec Center,” Huffman said.

Sherberg said that along with amenities targeted at high-end tourists, he also wants to see resources for Vail’s youth.

“I hope they put something in for children. I think they need a YMCA or a rec center,” he said. “My daughter pretty much grew up here, and, especially in the winter, when they’re not skiing, there isn’t really anywhere for them to go.”

Some residents said they saw the new village as part of the inevitable growth that comes with Vail.

Jo Brown, a 40-year Vail resident, said she can remember when Lionshead was going up and Interstate 70 through Vail was being built.

“A lot of old timers don’t like change, but I’m always open (to ideas),” she said.

Wilson said she’s always loved Lionshead, but admitted it could use a facelift.

“I’ve watched Vail since I first skied it in 1962 when it opened,” she said. “Change happens.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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