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Mayor to complete his term

Matt Zalaznick

Vail Mayor Ludwig Kurz says he will hold onto his council seat until his term expires in February, forcing the town to hold two elections in four months.

Vail voters will go to the polls in November to fill four seats on the Town Council; they will return to the polls in January to replace Kurz, who said Thursday his decision to stay was motivated by his supporters.

“I have decided to stay on to the end of my term,” Kurz said. “I have had a lot of support and requests from people that I do that.”

Kurz was first appointed to the council in early 1995, when former mayor and Councilwoman Peggy Osterfoss resigned a few months after the fall elections. Kurz was last re-elected to a four-year term in 2001.

Term limits

Vail law limits council members to eight years, or two four-year terms in a row. A council member, however, may run for election again after sitting out for two years.

There was some speculation Kurz would step down before November so the town wouldn’t have to pay for a special election and voters could fill all five seats at once.

“I have thought about that and the town has certain expenses – and running elections is one of them,” Kurz said.

Kurz, who has lived in Vail for most of the last 36 years, is director of community relations for the Beaver Creek Resort Company. A former ski-racer and instructor, he first arrived in Vail in 1967.

Kurz said he plans to remain involved in town affairs after he steps down from the council next year.

“I think I will miss the activity and the mental exercise more than the actual meetings,” Kurz said. “I think I’ll miss the challenges that are out there – I won’t fade away.”

Major strides

During his time on council, Kurz said, the town has made major strides in building parks and affordable housing.

“I think on the whole that we have achieved quite a bit,” Kurz said. “I think some of what we have achieved is going to show up as we go forward. The results don’t show overnight.”

Among major achievements, Kurz mentioned the town’s acquisition of the Timber Ridge affordable housing complex and construction, now under way, of the Middle Creek low-cost apartments near Vail Village.

In the last few years, Vail also has opened two parks in West Vail –the large Donovan Park and Pavilion on South Frontage Road and the smaller Ellefson Park on the north side of Interstate 70, in the Chamonix neighborhood.

Town planners and a consulting firm have just begun designing the conference center Vail plans to build next to the parking garage in Lionshead. The firm, HVS International, will analyze the center’s prospects for success by gauging national and international demand for the facility.

“The conference center, where it is today, is a great step in the right direction,” Kurz said.

The town also has weathered the sluggish economy and is poised for a strong comeback, Kurz said.

“Regardless of the economic downturn across the county, I think we’re very well-positioned to take full advantage of it when things turn,” Kurz said. “I think that’s a result of some of the things that have happened over the last eight years.”

Among the other incumbents, Bill Jewitt is running for re-election, Greg Moffet and Rod Slifer still haven’t made up their minds, and Chuck Ogilby said he is not seeking another term.

Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.


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