‘Road map’ for conference center
Town of Vail officials and consultants have launched the first phase of a massive planning effort aimed at laying the groundwork for the new conference center.HVS International, a Chicago-based consulting firm, will meet with planners and conduct a study on the economic performance of existing conference facilities comparable to Vail’s future center. HVS will also prepare a business plan, determining the anticipated operational costs and revenue for the project, as well as the size. The plan will also provide recommendations on marketing, hotel room blocks, booking policies and an anticipated calendar of events. The analysis is slated for completion my early December but town officials will get a progress report in mid-Ocotober.”The work is extremely important in that this research will be used to help us design the most appropriate space for the conference market,” said Rod Slifer, chairman of the Conference Center Oversight Committee and a member of the Vail Town Council. “While we’re eager to get the project built as quickly as possible, we also know how important it is to get it right, which requires due diligence on our parts” Slifer said.The planning timetable envisions completion by 2005 or 2006. The conference center is to be built on town-owned land east of the Lionshead parking structure. Voters approved a 1.5 percent lodging tax and a .5 percent increase in sales tax to build the facility.Philanthropy forum set for Late SeptemberLeaders of mountain-based nonprofit groups will gather Sept. 28-30 at the Marriot in Vail to strengthen ties with Front Range private and public founders, learning how to leverage their funds and focus attention on pertinent local issues.Representatives from the surrounding region, including Lake, Summit, Pitkin and Garfield counties will also participate. A regional steering committee has planned for funders to visit a handful of sites to learn firsthand about those issues.”What is exciting about Mountain Philanthropy Days coming to our mountains is the recognition our non-profit organizations will receive on a statewide level,” said Anne Wenzel, co-chair of Mountain Philanthropy Days (MPD) and executive director of Western Colorado Community Foundation. “The forum will also direct needed attention to several of the common challenges we tackle every day associated with housing, transportation, childcare, water, diversity, youth and healthcare.”The Anschutz Family Foundation and Community Resource Center have worked with rural communities to produce Rural Philanthropy Days events since 1990, but this is the first time the forum has been held in the mountains.”For Vail to host such a prestigious group of philanthropists and their benefactors is a tremendous boost to the non-profit organizations in our community,” Wenzel said.”Previous Philanthropy Days events have resulted in up to $1 million in new money to respective host regions, as well as increased support and networking throughout dozens of communities,” said Julie Olsen co-chair of Mountain Philanthropy Days and director of Advocate Safe House.Local sponsors include: Alpine Bank, Aspen Valley Community Foundation, Aspen Valley Medical Foundation, Beaver Creek Resort Co., Booth Creek Ski Holdings, Inc., East West Partners, Ehrhardt Keefe Steiner & Hottman, Family Center, First Bank, Garfield County Human Services, the George Gillett Family, Internetworks, Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa, Peeples Ink PR, Ltd., Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, The Summit Foundation, Vail Resorts, Vail Valley Foundation, Wells Fargo and Western Colorado Community Foundation/ Sawatch Summit.Vail police commander attends FBI AcademyVail Police Commander Joe Russell has just returned from the FBI National Academy Program in Quantico, Virginia after a 10-week training course in advanced investigative, management and fitness techniques. Russell is the third employee from the Vail Police Department to attend the FBI Academy. He graduated with 240 other state, federal and international law enforcement officers.Russell says he’s honored and humbled to have experienced the training."I enjoyed the entire experience and I want to thank my family and thestaff of the Vail Police Department and the FBI for giving me this great opportunity," he said. "The academic experience allowed me to further my knowledge and understanding of criminal investigations and develop my management and leadership abilities."Russell has been employed in Vail since 1982. He has served as a patrol officer, detective, patrol sergeant, detective sergeant, operations commander and administrative commander during his years of service. In 2001, he was interim chief for five months following the resignation of Greg Morrison. He now serves as one of two commanders under Chief Dwight
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