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Old, new guards split

Kaye Ferry

Last week I filled you in on the recent Crossroads decision. Shocking. I also promised you a brief follow-up on how the public weighed in. The divergence in the community was split down some very interesting lines that speak to what course future Vail development will undoubtedly take.First, there was the old guard as opposed to the newer arrivals. I don’t think I need to spend much time on the first group. As a rule, they want things to stay the way they have always been, as though the formula that was used to put Vail on the map is the same one that will keep it there.While I am a firm believer in tradition, sometimes just for its sake alone, I also believe that the world changes and if you don’t keep up, you fall behind. Pure and simple.Now keep in mind that those who arrived after the first wave aren’t steeped in the same history. And on top of that, they crave new activities. They salivate over the idea of a bowling alley. Arcades are what they were raised on. And they’re all – me included – tired of theaters with broken seats and ventilation systems that don’t work. Clearly, the newer kids on the block were largely in support of the proposed plan for Crossroads. And when I say new kids on the block, for the most part that was anybody under 60.Then there was the division between established business owners and those who are still trying to make it. Those struggling on the up side of the bell curve look toward any improvement as a way of increasing traffic and therefore business. Mostly they don’t own their real estate and have small if any cash reserves. Quite the opposite from the old guard once again. But then I suppose it’s easier to cling to the past when your future is secure. But the lines, while fuzzy in some cases, were mostly well-defined. When the baton is passed along to the next group, I think the writing is on the wall. Big is not necessarily bad. Old is not necessarily better than new. The past is not preferable to the future. Only time will tell, but I predict that the worm is about to turn.New topic. I haven’t had time to deal with something I heard at a meeting in April. It left me pretty speechless, which to anybody who knows me is a feat unto itself.I was attending the April meeting of the Commission on Special Events, and one of the agenda items was the recap on the Vail Ski Classic. Quite proudly, another successful event was described along with the announcement that because of the profits generated, four charities would benefit by donations from the Vail Valley Foundation.Here’s where I took great exception. First let’s understand the process. The VVF requested and received funding support for the ski classic from the town of Vail, as they have for countless years. Now keep in mind that these are Vail tax dollars. So here comes my first question: If an event is generating a profit, why does it need subsidies from the town?But let’s move along to the interesting part, the four charities. They are Waterkeeper Alliance (the Robert F. Kennedy Jr. fund), Hole in the Wall Camps (Paul Newman’s charity), Rebuilding Together (a Habitat type of organization) and the VVF education programs. I don’t know who exactly benefits from the VVF education programs. I would hope it’s someone or something local. But does it make sense that town of Vail tax dollars are used to support an event whose profits are then used to support charities in other communities?I mean, didn’t I just read that the Eagle River needs some cleanup work done? Why then are we sending checks to help clean up the Hudson River? And don’t we have enough needy and sick kids in our own valley? Why would Vail tax dollars be sent to Connecticut to help kids there? Or housing. Seems to me we could use any money we can get to address local housing issues. Rebuilding Together is all over the country but has nothing in the Vail area, unless you count Denver and Colorado Springs.Now don’t get me wrong. These are all very worthwhile charities. And the Vail Valley Foundation can do what ever they want with their money. But that’s the point. It’s not their money. It’s Vail tax dollars that are being sent out of town.Of course, what makes it even more ironic is that the town has a generally acknowledged policy that they do not make purely charitable donations. Even from the town funding application, it’s perfectly clear that donations from the town must help fulfill its mission statement and provide a benefit to the community. I’m really hard-pressed to figure out how cleaning up a river in New York helps the residents of Vail. I think we need to take a hard look at how town money is dispersed, especially when it ends up in other communities. I also question whether town money should be donated to organizations whose stated purpose is to fund charities that the town would not fund under other circumstances. And that brings me to another example that I’ll share next week.In the meantime, I was at the amphitheater this week and was pleased to see that Mr. Vilar’s name is still on the wall. The legal process needs to run its course before we get out the screw driver.By the way, everyone in the Fourth of July parade had to sign a waiver agreeing not to throw things from their float. Who forgot to tell the Town Council? Do your part: call them and write them. To contact the Town Council, call 479-1860, ext. 8, or e-mail towncouncil@vailgov.com. To contact Vail Resorts, call 476-5601 or e-mail vailinfo@vailresorts.com. For past columns, go to vaildaily.com and click on “Columnists” or search for keyword “ferry.” Kaye Ferry is a longtime observer of Vail government. She writes a weekly column for the Daily.Vail, Colorado


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