Vail community survey mostly a thumbs-up |

Vail community survey mostly a thumbs-up

Kaye Ferry

The next document that passed without comment during the frantic months preceding the election is the community survey. It was conducted between March 26 and April 8, 2005. Three hundred and two year-round residents and 102 part-time residents participated in the telephone survey and another 34 responses were returned by mail. Sixty of the respondents were town of Vail business owners.The purpose of the survey is “to evaluate satisfaction levels with respect to a full range of municipal services and to gather opinions on selected issues currently facing the Vail community.”Overall, the results indicate that attitudes towards the town government and the direction in which the town is moving are favorable. The second-homeowners are more positive than full-time residents, and newcomers are more positive than those with some longevity. Additionally, the attitude of business owners has improved since the last survey in 2003, although those who live out of town are more optimistic than those who live in Vail.When asked if the town is on the right track, 70 percent thought so a significant improvement over the 53 percent in 03.In 2004, the town council identified five priorities and the survey asked the community to evaluate their success in addressing them. Two ranked over 50 percent, indicating that there is a perception that there has been some progress. Those two are the goal of making Vail a great place to live, work and play and the facilitation of redevelopment.The three other areas didnt fare as well, all getting rankings of 33 percent or less. They were elevation of community leadership, partnerships and cooperation with VRI, VRD and the business community; improvement of the local economy; and proactive resolution of important projects such as I-70 noise and fire station.Parking once again topped the list as the biggest issue facing the town, with twice as many comments as any other single category from both full- and part-time residents. References were made to some specific parking issues, such as the lack of available parking in the winter, the need for more pay stations for shopper parking, requests for more shuttle bus service to the lots and too many spaces being occupied by construction vehicles.Another part of the survey asked for ranking of satisfaction levels with various town departments. As has been the norm over the past several years, the staff received higher marks than the town council or any of the town boards. The staff came in at a 65 percent approval; the planning & environmental commission at 37 percent; design review board 25 percent; and the town council 38 percent.Community development came in high on environmental quality, courtesy and attitude; and below 50 percent on service, efficiency, permit review and inspections. Public works was the real shining star, with 70 percent or better in all seven categories. Police, fire, and bus service also got glowing reviews with a range of 60-94 percent approval for the 15 categories between them.Library services and recreational facilities also received high marks, with the library ranging from 78-85 percent approval and recreation from 66-82 percent.A new question this year asked: “What doesnt Vail have that you would like to see provided?” The open-ended question resulted in a large majority suggesting recreation as an area requiring improvements. A recreation center or, more specifically, a pool was identified by 25 percent of respondents. This is an amenity that has been discussed by the community several times in the past and will undoubtedly continue to reappear. So are there conclusions? I would say definitely so. The town appears to be moving in a direction residents are supportive of.Parking leads the list of complaints and will continue to do so until each segment of the community is able to secure parking in a frequency and at a rate that is tolerable for them in their situation. Seasonal housing, on the other hand, has temporarily stepped aside as the top priority. Yet if projections are true, we will soon be faced with another housing shortage at this end of the valley. But for now, its under control. In general, the town staff and most departments are looked at very favorably by their customers. I suppose there is little reason to expect a love affair between the boards and the council that make the tough decisions. No matter where they turn, someone is unhappy and that will always show up on the survey. In the meantime, according to the survey anyway, things look good. Yet Im always mystified that these results never seem to jibe with the chatter on the street. I guess the main thing is that we dont take any of this too seriously. Because the reality is, your opinion is only as good as your last interaction with the town.Do your part- call them and write them.To contact the TC call 479-1860 X 8 or email towncouncil@vailgov.comTo contact Vail Resorts call 476-5601 or email vailinfo@vailresorts.comFor past columns, columnists or search:ferry.Kaye Ferry is a longtime observer of Vail government. She writes a weekly column for the Daily. The next document that passed without comment during the frantic months preceding the election is the community survey. It was conducted between March 26 and April 8, 2005. Vail Colorado

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