Vail bus hub plan scrapped |

Vail bus hub plan scrapped

VAIL, Colorado ” Vail scaled back plans for a $18.6 million Lionshead transit center Tuesday over concerns about the project’s price and location ” as well as the economic state of the country.

“This is the wrong project on the wrong location,” said Mayor Dick Cleveland.

The town had considered teaming with Vail Resorts to build a $38.2 million affordable housing-transit center complex on the parking lot, near the interstate pedestrian bridge and the Landmark Condominiums.

The transit center, which the town would have paid for ” largely with tax-increment financing bonds and cash ” would have accommodated town and county buses as well as skier drop-off spaces and shuttle buses. Vail Resorts would have paid for the four stories of affordable housing, which it owes as part of the Arrabelle at Vail Square project, above the transit center.

But councilors decided Tuesday to only put skier drop-off spaces ” and possibly shuttle buses ” under the affordable housing.

“It seems like there are smarter ways of spending that money,” said Councilman Mark Gordon.

The town should look to the proposed redevelopment of the Lionshead parking structure as well as the proposed Ever Vail ski village for a Lionshead bus station, Gordon said.

Kent Logan, a Vail resident, former councilman and retired financier, told the council it shouldn’t be spending money on “discretionary” projects, especially as the nation’s financial markets are in disarray. Hours earlier, the U.S. government announced a plan to bail out insurance giant AIG.

“The only uncertainty is what is approaching us, a Category 1 or a Category 5 storm,” Logan said.

The council heard pleas from neighbors of the North Day Lot, who said the big buses would be loud, dirty and smelly. Too many things were being packed onto the site, they said.

“It appears to have 10 pounds of stuff in a 5-pound space,” said Al Harmann, a homeowner at the Landmark condominiums, which is just south of the parking lot.

The Landmark even hired its own architect to come up with an alternative plan for the site, which was presented to the council at the meeting.

But, for the council, the neighbors’ concerns seemed to take a back seat to other worries.

“I think the timing is wrong, in light of the news of the last week,” Councilman Farrow Hitt said.

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