‘Pete’s Dream’ sculpture plan survives, but won’t be fully town-funded by Vail | VailDaily.com

‘Pete’s Dream’ sculpture plan survives, but won’t be fully town-funded by Vail

Roger Tilkemeier is raising money for "Pete's Dream, a monument honoring Vail founder Pete Seibert, and all the farmers and ranchers who weree in the Gore Creek Valley before Vail.

VAIL — A memorial to the driving force behind the Vail ski area is still alive — but only just.

Roger Tilkemeier and Bill Rey on Tuesday, March 6, asked the Vail Town Council for $300,000 to purchase and install "Pete's Dream," a large sculpture by artist Herb Mignery. That request was rejected.

But after a lot of public input and a lengthy council debate, council members agreed to put aside $150,000 for the project.

That money was appropriated in the first reading of an ordinance approving the town's first supplemental budget of 2018. Supplemental budgets in Vail are used in large part to fund projects that were approved in the prior year but delayed or continued into the following year.

The funding request for the Seibert memorial was postponed from 2017 into 2018 with the idea that Tilkemeier and Rey would be able to find private funding for the project.

Town funding?

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That didn't happen, with potential donors largely saying the sculpture should be town-funded.

That idea was repeated often at Tuesday's meeting by numerous residents in support of the project.

Those addressing the council included two of Seibert's sons, Brant and Pete Jr. The brothers had differing ideas about the sculpture.

Pete Seibert Jr. said he believes his father would like the piece.

Brant Seibert, though, said the sculpture isn't historically accurate and doesn't include Earl Eaton, who first showed Vail's Back Bowls to Seibert.

After some intense lobbying from the public, council members were left pondering their next steps. Much of the discussion revolved around the fact that the Vail Art in Public Places Board has largely been left out of the process of evaluating the piece.

Tilkemeier twice mentioned that the town's arts board had endorsed the sculpture.

But, council member Kevin Foley said, that endorsement came with the understanding the sculpture would be privately funded and donated to the town.

"We're in a bit of pickle here," council member Jenn Bruno said. "I feel like the process failed Pete."

But, Bruno added, the town has a process for acquiring and funding public art, and that process wasn't followed with the proposal for the Seibert sculpture.

Bruno was an original supporter of the proposal, along with Mayor Dave Chapin and council member Kim Langmaid, who was absent from Tuesday's meeting.

Chapin said he still believes Vail can get the project completed, but just how remains an open question.

Town Manager Greg Clifton reminded council members that they had discussed creating a fund to commemorate Vail's pioneers during the 2018 budget process. He suggested that town staff could come back with a proposal to establish that fund.

With $150,000 now allocated for the project, the "Pete's Dream" idea still has some life — if matching funds can be found.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com and @scottnmiller.

What about the big TV?

The Vail Valley Foundation in February had asked the town for a $185,000 donation for a $440,000 video screen for the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

The screen will still be installed in May, but foundation president Mike Imhof on Tuesday, March 6, told Vail Town Council members the group will now ask for that donation in the town’s 2019 budget.