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Underwood: Connection the ‘Beav is key

Veronica Whitney
Preston Utley/Vail DailyAvon town council canidate Tamra Underwood sits on her porch with her two children and husband.
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Q. What do you expect to be your job as a council member?A. As a member of our Avon Town Council, I look forward to moving Avon in a positive direction both in the short and long-term. Having grown up in Avon, working in Avon as an attorney and raising my part of the fifth generation of Nottinghams in Avon gives me a unique perspective. As a town councilor, I will apply my passion for Avon to make sophisticated decisions on urban planning, fiscal responsibility and other day-to-day business that comes directly before the council. But I will also seek to get Avon involved in matters that can affect our town indirectly, such as public school excellence and preservation of valuable open space. The Avon Town Council must be a leader, not only within our town boundaries, but within our amazing valley too.Q. How would you manage growth in the town?A. Avon’s growth is inevitable but the Avon Town Council must drive growth that is healthy, sustainable and reflective our of small town character. While each development must be evaluated on its own merits by asking, “What assets and liabilities does this project bring to Avon,” an overall vision for Avon must remain our overriding concern. We are currently updating Avon’s comprehensive plan and this written vision for Avon must be a remarkable document that recognizes our desire to live in a great town – a town that has a vibrant and successful core, pleasant and compatible residential areas, preserved open space and historical sites, and fully-utilized amenities.

Q. What are the three most pressing issues facing the town?A. First, Avon is not only “The Heart of the Valley” it is the world’s gateway to Beaver Creek – no one else can claim this or take advantage of the vast opportunities presented by this fact. A gondola link and a healthy relationship with the Beaver Creek community are essential to our town’s success, helping attract redevelopment of our town core. Second, is our need to get people out of their cars while in Avon; living in and frequently visiting our town; lingering with Avon’s quality merchants and service providers; and enjoying our unique recreational facilities and public spaces. Avon needs to become more pedestrian friendly. Third, to the greatest extent possible, we must drive the Village at Avon development in a positive way, assuring that it hosts healthy and sustainable growth that is reflective our of small town character. Q. Locals have voiced concerns about transportation. Would you support expanding the transportation system around town?A. Moving locals and guests around Avon efficiently is an important role for the town and I believe it should be in partnership with private contributors. Mass transit is certainly an important component of making Avon more pedestrian-friendly, but providing the frequency, routes and facilities that make patrons happy is a costly and complicated matter. Rising fuel costs, air pollution and other limitations make busing an imperfect method. Along with more traditional approaches, maybe we should be entertaining some maverick ideas like employing eco-friendly vehicles along the railroad corridor. I look forward to helping solve Avon’s transportation dilemma.

Q. What do you see in the future for the Village at Avon?A. To the greatest extent possible, we must drive the Village at Avon development in a positive way, assuring that this project hosts healthy and sustainable growth that is reflective of Avon’s small town character. When faced with rare opportunities to effect change in Magnus Lindholm’s development, the Avon Town Council needs to have set clear priorities to affect positive change and then demand such change. The hottest topic currently facing us all is the proper location of the school site. The town needs to understand what the school district wants and needs and must then work to achieve it.If the Village at Avon were a very long book, I think we are only in about Chapter Two – while the table of contents was written in 1998, with further citizen and expert input I know we can re-write parts of future chapters to enhance the public benefits in the project. It is the duty of the Avon Town Council to do whatever it can to make the Village at Avon an asset to our community and the valley at large. Q. How could the town profit from its proximity to Beaver Creek?

A. Avon is not only “The Heart of the Valley,” it is the world’s Gateway to Beaver Creek – no one else can claim this or take advantage of the vast opportunities presented by this fact. A gondola link and a healthy relationship with the Beaver Creek community is essential. Directly linking Avon to its world-class neighbor will serve locals, visitors and businesses in Avon by facilitating the valley’s core commodity – skiing – but also bring Beaver Creek and Bachelor Gulch guests to Avon for dining and shopping alternatives, family entertainment and nightlife, and unique recreational opportunities. The respective success of Avon and Beaver Creek are tied – we must embrace this opportunity. Q. What can the town do to make it more convenient to walk around?A. While it may be a little known fact that humans can cross Avon Road and Beaver Creek Boulevard on foot, I hope to make our town even more pedestrian friendly! Our street and parking patterns need to make sense, the scale of new and redeveloped buildings needs to feel comfortable and inviting, and vehicular traffic needs to be calmed. All of these are long-term and grand goals that the town must work to achieve. In the short-term, tasteful pedestrian crossing lights at our terrifically-efficient roundabouts and other simple, pedestrian enhancing capital improvements, can make Avon an more appealing and successful town. Vail Colorado


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