Slifer thinking about issues, not legacy |

Slifer thinking about issues, not legacy

Preston Utley/Vail DailyRod Slifer has been a resident of Vail for over 40 years, and has served on the town council for 16 years. Terms limits will force him off the council in November.

VAIL ” Rod Slifer doesn’t use the word “retire.” At 72, he continues to work at Slifer Smith and Frampton, the large real estate company he founded, and has no plans to invoke the “R” word.

But with his term as mayor ending in November, Slifer’s long political career in Vail will end.

“I promise not to run again,” he said. “It’s time for others to become involved.”

Slifer has lived in Vail since he was hired by founder Peter Seibert in 1962, a few months before the mountain first opened, and has been a mayor or councilman for 16 of Vail’s 40 years as a town.

Now he has a few months to put the finishing touches on his legacy. But Slifer, in his typically humble way, says that’s not in his hands.

“It’s not up to me to tell you what my legacy should be,” he said. “It’s up to the people I serve. We’ll just have to wait and see what everyone thinks.”

For now, he’s focusing on a few issues that he wants the town to resolve before he exits as mayor.

One is affordable housing, including the town’s 10-acre Timber Ridge affordable housing complex, which the town wants redeveloped.

“I’d just like to get it buttoned up,” whether that happens as part of the Lionshead parking structure redevelopment or some other way, he said.

The Texas developer who wants to rebuild the garage has offered to put 312 four-person apartments and 167 affordable condos on the property.

Slifer also wants to push the town of Vail to build more affordable housing for its own employees, perhaps at the Chamonix parcel in West Vail. Business should build housing for their own employees, and Vail ” as a large employer ” should lead by example, he said.

“We’re one of the larger employers in Vail, and I think the private sector has to help us solve this problem as much as the public sector, and we as a business need to have housing,” he said.

Affordable housing has always been an issue in Vail, Slifer said.

“It was an issue in 1962,” he said. “I had to live in Minturn.”

Slifer also wants to get the West Vail fire station built. That station has been proposed since the early 1980s, and now the town is trying to buy the Wendy’s property for the station.

He’d like to see a townwide discussion on what residents want Vail to look like, he said.

The recent Vail “renaissance” has brought new, bigger buildings to Vail, and the proposal for the Crossroads redevelopment provoked a debate about how big is too big for Vail’s buildings.

“Where do we want to go? Is it too big? Is it too small? Is it time to catch our breath?” he said.

Slifer voted against the Crossroads proposal, and still says he thought it was too big.

“If we don’t preserve what made Vail what it is today, we lose a lot,” he said.

Even with just a handful of meetings left as mayor, Slifer said he won’t be rushing to get all of his goals completed.

“We’re not going to get it all done,” he said. “So you always feel rushed, you always feel like you have to get it done. But government and the system doesn’t move very fast, so we’ll push as hard as we can.”

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or

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