Vail considering projects for conference center fund |

Vail considering projects for conference center fund

VAIL, Colorado – There is no “next big idea” for Vail’s $9.3 million conference center fund, so why not several smaller projects, a local consultant asked the Vail Town Council Tuesday.

Kent Logan is helping direct an effort to get Vail the biggest bang for those bucks. The town’s $9.3 million conference center fund has been waiting since 2005.

The “next big idea,” would spin off $25 million if you pumped $9.3 million into it. They got together with all kinds of movers and shakers, and decided that there is no new next big idea. Then they looked at all kinds of other resorts, and no one else has anything either.

So, Logan and the group came with five smaller proposals, all of which could help local economic development.

• “Complete the Renaissance,” Logan said. “I’m struck by the fact that the council is moving forward with the Lionshead parking structure.”

• “Create better physical platforms. The council says the money has to be used for a physical asset. We have those, not let’s improve them.”

• “Software, not hardware. If we create better platforms, hopefully we can count on private enterprise to capitalize on that. The real economic value won’t come from the brick and mortar, but from the business activities. That really is the private sector.”

• “The VRD is key: The VRD manages the town’s assets, and that makes them a key partner in making this a success over the next several years.”

• “It’s time to rally this town: Two years ago a group warned of the coming economic tsunami. It didn’t hit as hard as it might have, and that’s a testament to this council.”

It’s all contingent on Vail having some money to spend, which it does.

“It’s now time to move to the offense, and this one of the only organizations that’s positioned to move offensively,” Logan said. “There’s no single bullet. There doesn’t seem to be any need or purpose to build a new single-purpose facility. It’s going to be many small incremental steps that, over time, will have an impact.”

Logan said the $9.3 million is an economic stimulus program, adding that new construction projects have ground to a halt and existing projects will be completed this year.

Construction costs are down, as much as 30 percent, he said.

“The window of opportunity is open. We only have one 50th anniversary, in 2012, and the world is coming in 2015,” Logan said.

Vail Mayor Dick Cleveland called the work, “a huge step forward for us,” especially with the Vail’s 2012 50th anniversary and the 2015 world championships.

“I think we should move forward and make a final decision,” Cleveland said.

The council will start wading through the proposals in future work sessions.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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