Steward Vail gets repositioned as a ‘Stewardship Roadmap’ in latest iteration
The most recent draft of the plan is meant to be more action-oriented
The Vail Town Council on Tuesday got its latest look at the draft Steward Vail plan, providing feedback on the plan’s actions, goals, and strategies as well as the metrics by which the town will track its progress over the next 10 years.
Since the plan was last before the council, it has been repositioned as its “Stewardship Roadmap,” a testament to the future-looking aspect of the plan but also its existence as a living, evolving document.
“The switch in the name to roadmap intends that it’s going to be a little bit flexible as we go; there might be bumps and winds depending on what’s happening in the larger world and how we need to respond,” Mayor Kim Langmaid said.
The process to create this plan kicked off in 2022 with stakeholder engagement including everything from public sessions and meetings to focus groups and in-depth interviews. According to Mia Vlaar, the town’s director of economic development, the 1,500 community members that participated in this process helped drive the overall vision of the plan.
While this feedback is infused into various aspects of the plan, it was most prominently used to establish six Vail values that serve as the “compass” for the roadmap. These include quality of life, community, environmental stewardship, experience, respect and fun (all of which are defined in the roadmap document).
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The Vail Town Council began its evaluation of the plan in December 2022, taking a close look at the overarching goals of the plan. However, based on the feedback received from the council and community in the months since, the latest iteration is intended to be more action-oriented.
Inside the roadmap
This extensive 10-year plan has various elements, including definitions, values, vision, actions, goals, measures, a plan for implementation as well targets and indicators.
At its core is the reason that the town embarked on this planning process in the first place: to strike a balance between the town’s economic, community and environmental priorities.
“The reason for the roadmap is because we’re charting a path for the next 10 years to ensure that the visitor economy continues to thrive within the local community and with the values of the community in mind,” Vlaar said. “It brings a sharp new focus to the purpose of the economy. We want to have an economy that is enriched by tourism because it creates an incredible environment for all of us to live in. It also formerly recognizes that building this strong tourism economy is the foundation of the lifestyle itself and that community.”
The newly-coined roadmap represents a “community-positive” vision to create this type of economy, using a new phrase coined in this process, said Cathy Ritter, from Better Destinations.
“The subtitle for this document is: ‘A community-positive vision for a thriving visitor economy,’ Ritter said. “What became apparent throughout the work to develop this plan was that at the center of this plan is a benefit to the Vail community. We thought that required a new term … Community-positive signals that the main intention of this plan is to deliver positive outcomes for this community.”
While this notion as well as the values are at the heart of the roadmap, there are five major actions and goals it will take to achieve this vision by 2033. These five actions are written as follows:
- Make Vail more liveable
- Enhance Vail’s “world-class experience”
- Invigorate Vail’s spirit
- Advance Vail stewardship as a global model
- Energize Vail’s brand
Each action has a subsequent set of goals by which to address the problems identified. This includes specific, actionable goals like doubling the supply of deed-restricted homes (for item No. 1) to reducing carbon emissions by 25% by 2025 (for item No. 4) to more qualitative goals like managing the demands of community infrastructure (for item No. 2), building a stronger community by empowering local entrepreneurship and creating gathering spaces (for item No. 3) and developing a differentiating brand for Vail (for item No. 5).
Within the roadmap’s implementation plan are specific strategies the town will take to reach these goals. The town, with input from its department leads, has outlined which departments will take on each strategy as well as the length of time it will take to achieve over the next 10 years.
These strategies encompass a wide variety of actions for the town to take — from identifying necessary partnerships and outlining specific projects to tackle to strategies centered on education and marketing. There are also listed considerations in the plan for the town to make throughout its decision- and policy-making.
Each action item also has a number of targets and indicators by which the town intends to track its progress in achieving its goals. This includes tracking things like available workforce and public school enrollment as well as satisfaction levels of residents and visitors, and much more.
As part of its effort to track progress, the town intends to have some form of a public-facing dashboard that would demonstrate progress — or even lack thereof — on individual strategies.
“The ultimate intention is to share this in a very public way so that your town residents can monitor how this plan is being implemented, how these indicators are being watched, and how the targets are being met over the 10-year life of this plan,” Ritter said.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Vail Town Council members provided a few language tweaks and minor revisions, but on the whole, were aligned with the roadmap’s most recent direction.
The next steps in this process are for the town to create a public-facing, more “graphical document” that is easier to digest, Vlaar said, as well as to finalize the 10-year implementation timeline, begin to allocate resources (including budget) for each of the strategies, and for council to formally adopt the Stewardship Roadmap via resolution.
To view the draft plan in its entirety, visit EngageVail.com/Stewardship