Share your smarts with the town of Vail |

Share your smarts with the town of Vail

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” Some volunteer their time, and others their money, but the town of Vail is now looking for people to volunteer their expertise.

The Town Council wants to form a Brain Bank, a database of people in the community who can advise the town’s seven boards and committees on complex matters including development, finances, environmental matters and housing.

The Brain Bank database will be maintained by the Town Manager’s office, and volunteers will be contacted by the town according to their expertise as the needs emerge.

People who would like to volunteer can now register at the town of Vail’s Web site. There are no residential requirements, only the willingness to volunteer, town officials said.

The idea originated from councilwoman Margaret Rogers when she was running for town council. She said she spoke with many people who were eager to share their ideas and knowledge with the town.

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“We are fortunate in Vail in that we have very successful people who live here. There are people who live in this town who have expertise on a variety of subjects who don’t necessarily have the time or inclination to sign up for a board or run for the council,” she said.

For example, in looking at options for Timber Ridge, the town’s biggest employee housing complex, the town was able to form an advisory group that included an architect, a developer and affordable housing specialist.

The town could use that sort of advice on a number of projects, Rogers said.

The idea was brought up to the town council, who voted in favor of starting up the program.

Mayor pro-tem Andy Daly said that right now the town will either hire experts when needed or call up contacts they know personally. The Brain Bank will formalize and consolidate those resources, Daly said.

“The town is facing increasingly complex issues on how to deal with growth and development,” he said. “We have a very diverse community ” let’s take advantage of that.”

Longtime Vail resident Pete Feistmann was the first to volunteer his knowledge. The oil, gas and hedge fund investor said he thinks the bank is a great idea, and he wants to share his experience in planning and development with the town.

The town could use development experts when it comes to negotiating huge projects. The town should be able to demand more information from developers, and ask for more benefits for the community, he said.

He has heard among resort developers that Vail is considered one of the easiest marks when it comes to negotiating deals.

“We’re considered a pushover, and I don’t think that should be the case,” he said. “There’s the general feeling that this town has been out-negotiated by developers on many projects.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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