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Right project at right time

Kaye Ferry

By this time next week, the fireworks will be over – literally and figuratively – and we’ll know the answer on Crossroads.The truth is, I know it now and so do you. But for all the world, I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to vote on this issue because I want to make sure the message is loud and clear. We will not be bullied any more. Because, as Dylan sang, “These times they are a changin.”As I said last week, Peter Knobel and his crew have taken the high road. They have refused to respond to the BS and have done everything necessary to keep their message on focus. Crossroads has been approved twice by the Planning Commission. Crossroads has been approved by the Vail Town Council.And for all practical purposes, Crossroads was approved by the voters, as evidenced by the results of the last town election.The rest of the message is that it’s a great project for the town. Maybe not in 1962, but it is in 2006. Hell, most of our registered voters weren’t even born in 1962! So keep this in mind. It is neither the smallest nor the largest of its newest neighbors, no matter what comparisons are used. In fact, it not only fits in, it significantly out shines every other project ever built in the 44-year history of the town of Vail by virtue of the $45 million in amenities and entertainment opportunities that it’s providing. No matter what the opponents would like you to believe, the developer is a local. He lives in Vail, has a lovely wife who is active in the community, and two small children who attend school here. It is somewhat based on those facts that Crossroads has been designed as it has. As a full time resident, he knows what’s missing here. He was faced with our inadequate facilities and set out to improve things for locals, as well as guests.Of course he’ll make a profit. Who would be fool enough to personally take on such a sizable project otherwise? Certainly not those who are critical of Mr. Knobel. This has always raised an interesting question in my mind. Where would the “Old Guard” be if the community was able to dictate how much they could make on any of their business ventures? Who put limits on the economic potential of the opponents and exactly what do you think their reaction would have been? I’m quite sure I know the answer to that. But once again, a double standard has been applied because the Old Guard is not on the inside track for this one. Yet one of their own previously highly touted experts presented his opinion on Crossroads. And guess what. Ironically it didn’t support the OG’s position.In an article Ed Stoner did last week, he extensively quoted some industry experts in resort planning. One of them, Ford Frick, should be familiar to you, as the town has paid for his services several times in the past and many of you may remember him for his very insightful presentation at an annual town Meeting. As a resort analyst with BBC Consulting and Research, he confers with resorts all over the world on the status of the industry and makes predictions of their future needs. So if you’re still confused and are leery of listening to those you might view as biased, let’s review what impartial consultants, some of whom have been hired by the town for their experts opinions, have to say.Let’s start with Greg Ditrinco, executive editor of Ski Magazine. He said that while skiers have always viewed the mountain as a refuge from urban landscape, “They are increasingly looking to resorts to provide them with urban amenities.”Then there’s Ralf Garrison, ski industry analyst for the Advisory Group. He said, “Baby boomers are spending relatively less time on the mountain and more time in the village.” Besides, Vail already has its fair share of tall buildings and “Crossroads wouldn’t be an unacceptable departure for Vail.”And finally, Mr. Frick. For him, the success of Crossroads will depend on the first 20 vertical feet – its store fronts and restaurants. In reference to the theaters, bowling alleys, etc., he said, “Some collection of amenities like that are necessary. Any reason to be downtown will be good for Vail. … Certainly the mountain is the centerpiece of Vail’s success, but it has to have a complementary town to make it work.”He was also clear to point out that there is an obvious difference between Bridge Street and the Frontage Road. Large buildings are more acceptable on the periphery of the village near the interstate. “I think the town can accommodate that type of height and density and will in fact benefit from the liveliness and density. Vail’s doing the right thing. It’s experimenting. It’s taking chances. It’s realizing it can’t just be faux Bavarian.”So there you have it. From the experts. They have no ax to grind, no reason to distort the facts as some have, and get paid big bucks for their opinions. And their opinions say it all. In fact, I couldn’t have said it better myself.While it’s nice to have your views validated by outside experts, it really isn’t necessary. Particularly in this case. Because we all know what we need. And what we want. And what’s been approved. And what will work for us. And for the guest.Why? Because it’s the right thing. It’s the right project. It’s the right time. It’s the right place. And it will bring the right results for this community. So my final three words to you? Vote. Vote. Vote.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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