Memorial park in Vail now under construction |

Memorial park in Vail now under construction

Scott N. Miller

VAIL – Vail is about to be complete.The town for decades has had Vail Valley Medical Center, a place to be brought into the world. Later this year, the Vail Memorial Park will be ready, for those seeking eternal repose in town.The park – the idea for which has been bubbling in Vail for more than 20 years – isn’t a cemetery, exactly, because full-body burials won’t be allowed. Instead cremated remains of loved ones can be spread on the site, or buried under flagstone pavers with the dearly departed’s name inscribed above. Others may choose to be remembered on a bench or by buying a tree.Most of the spaces available are along a couple of rock walls where names can be carved on individual stones.”This is a pretty big deal. We were finally able to find a site appropriate for the use, away from a neighborhood, that can accommodate 4,000 to 5,000 people,” Vail Memorial Park board member Merv Lapin said.The 11-acre site, just south of the East Vail exit off Interstate 70, will be kept as close to its natural state as possible even during construction, park director Chip Domke said. Heavy equipment is parked off site, and there won’t be much in the way of maintenance after the park is done, with grooming limited to keeping weeds down and names readable.While the park won’t be dedicated until this fall, interest in sites is building. A pair of benches, a couple of boulders, a flagstone and a handful of rocks in the wall have already been sold, Domke said.”We’ve had interest from Denver to Gypsum,” Domke said. In fact, he said, one of the original investors in the ski area has purchased a flagstone. He’ll get the local rate.The way the pricing system works, anyone who has lived in Vail for five consecutive years can get the resident’s rate. Prices for Eagle County residents are a bit higher, with everyone else paying the top price.While the first residents of the park won’t be moving in for a while yet, some people who have purchased stones already know what their memorials will say. Those carved messages will be in the park from the start, with just the final date left blank.For his inscription, Lapin has picked: Veni, vidi, adopteri, Latin for “I came, I saw, I bought.”Lapin is among the Vail’s first generation, those who came in the 1960s and stayed. Now, with the memorial park, “I can really stay,” Lapin said.Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or Daily, Vail Colorado

Support Local Journalism