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Play in Vail, stay in Vail

Kaye Ferry

In an attempt to be polite and not offend our guests, I have waited to continue this discussion until after their departure.

It probably won’t be surprising that my comments about the NY Phil’s housing arrangements caused a few responses. The majority definitely agreed that they should have stayed in Vail.

A little trip down memory stirred within me how I came to my conclusion. So I’ll tell you a story. As you have gathered by now, I was raised in a Midwestern town that is predominantly Catholic. In those days, the church depended heavily on donations for everything – church construction, school repairs, nuns’ retirement, new stained glass, flowers for the altar, etc. Almost anything qualified for the “second” collection on Sundays. And what couldn’t be collected in the basket was requested from the congregation with business donations solicited heavily. And my family, being Catholic and in business, was solicited often. And gave generously. For a long time.



Until the fatal day that the announcement was made that a charity fund-raiser was scheduled and a car was being raffled. Did I mention my family was in the automobile business? The car in question happened to be a Pontiac and the owner of that dealership was not Catholic and therefore had not been targeted as a donor for the church.

When the poor unsuspecting soul who was selling tickets showed up at my father’s office, he was drilled as to why Pontiac was the car of choice. My father was told that the other dealer had given them a better price than our manager had.



At that point, my father made it very clear that in the future they should contact the Pontiac dealer the next time the furnace went out in the rectory and they needed money for repairs. What goes around comes around.

That’s how I feel about the NY Phil’s housing arrangements. Even if the Hyatt gave them a better deal on the room rates, they should have stayed in Vail. Or as an alternative, perhaps Beaver Creek should write those sponsorship checks next year. But this has nothing to do with the orchestra.

We, and that includes me, are thrilled they were here and are equally thrilled that they are to return. But they should stay in Vail. The notion that the Hyatt gave them a better deal has nothing to do with it. It’s easy to give a better deal on a room if you don’t write another $100,000 check up front for sponsorship plus $60,000 for marketing. And page after page in the program listed the “Park Hyatt is the official home of the NY Phil.”



While I don’t expect the NY Phil to understand the politics of this community, surely the organizers should. However, maybe we learned a lesson. Perhaps when we write such checks in the future, we will take care to be very specific of our expectations. I hope the Vail Commission on Special Events makes a few notes in its file before signing next year’s check. Because, don’t forget, this money was just the beginning. The town of Vail is on the hook for $100,000 for each of the next two years.

And now for the GOOD NEWS! My position on affordable housing in Vail has been well known for a loooooong time. I have volunteered for every committee supporting employee housing for as long as I have been here. And though I’ve always known that it should play a part in our “renaissance,” there were times when even I was skeptical that we would ever see results.

But hallelujah! The day arrived. And in even greater abundance than was hoped for. On July 18, the final papers were signed, making Middle Creek a reality for Vail and the ground-breaking took place on July 28. All that’s left now is to proceed with the building process and start moving our employees in – D day for that is July 2004!

This development is not only a huge benefit to employees and employers in the town of Vail, but represents a major coup as well. The developer, Coughlin and Co., received $850,000 in state grants, representing the largest such funding in the history of the Colorado Division of Housing.

Middle Creek will provide 142 units and has passed what could arguably be called the most rigorous scrutiny of any major construction project to date. Its completion is eagerly anticipated and the ability of the community to have a resident work force will greatly enhance our service levels in years to come.

Quick on its heels is Timber Ridge. Because 20-year-deed restrictions were about to expire, the community stood the chance of losing 198 units, which would have resulted in a severe affordable housing deficit. Cash flow is such that Timber Ridge will pay for itself as the town explores it options. But at least for the short term, the units are preserved in the town of Vail’s housing pool.

The town of Vail and its boards, Eagle County, Vail Housing Authority, Vail Tomorrow Housing Team, Colorado Division of Housing, Coughlin and Co. and all in the community who worked so long and hard to make this dream a reality should be thanked and applauded for their undying faith in this project. The future of Vail is dependent on its employees and this success is the key to that future. Congratulations to us all.

Quick count

No. 1: The Vail Chamber and Business Association is NOT – again NOT -merging with the Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau. More later.

No. 2: Business License fee. Another story. A new restaurant opened on June 27. It had to buy a business license for the whole quarter, which ran from April 1 to June 30. It cost $400 for four days of operation. The alternative was to delay opening until July 1. How much sense does that make?

No. 3: At last. They’ve finally decided to fix the sound system in the council chambers. In the meantime, it would help if they’d use the microphones that are already there.

Do your part: call them and write them. To contact the Town Council, call 479-1860, ext. 8, or e-mail towncouncil@ci.vail.co.us. To contact Vail Resorts, call 476-5601 or e-mail vailinfo@vailresorts.com. For past columns, vaildaily.com-search:ferry.

Kaye Ferry, founding president of the Vail Chamber and Business Association, is a longtime observer of Vail government. She writes a weekly column for the Daily.


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