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Vail continues to work on economic recovery projects

Musical performances have been a socially-distanced hit; winter tents possible for restaurants

Scott Rednor (center stage) has played a number of concerts in Vail this summer with the Shakedown Presents! band.
Special to the Daily
Deferred sales tax due One of the first things the town of Vail did in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was to allow businesses to defer their sales tax payments. Those payments are coming due. In all, 342 businesses participated, for a total of $2.48 million in collections. Many have already paid, but there’s still $1.67 million in outstanding payments.

Since Vail Mountain closed down in mid-March, town of Vail officials have been working on ways to revive the town’s economy.

One of those efforts has been to “reimagine” the town’s events portfolio. For the past several weeks, the town, working with a handful of local promoters, has hosted several small-scale music performances from Ford Park to Lionshead. Many of those performances have been by Scott Rednor’s Shakedown Presents! band. That band usually performs at the Shakedown Bar in Vail, but hasn’t been able to due to public health orders.

Vail Economic Development Director Mia Vlaar Tuesday told the Vail Town Council that more performances are planned through the end of September.

Vlaar said other promoters have “found a way to bring compelling, interesting” events to town. “Kudos to all of them,” she added.

Some other, larger events have been held or are on the calendar, Vlaar said. The Sonnenalp hotel has proposed a two-day Oktoberfest celebration — with attendance limited to no more than 175 people with social distancing. That could come in either September or early October, Vlaar said.

The annual Art on the Rockes show is set for the weekend of Aug. 21-24 in Lionshead.

Music’s working well

Councilmember Jenn Bruno said she’s been hearing from business owners in the areas where the Shakedown band has played.

“It’s been a benefit to them,” Bruno said, urging more performances in Lionshead.

Councilmember Brian Stockmar praised the smaller musical events.

“They remind me of what Vail as a European Village was supposed to be about,” Stockmar said. “It does activate the town. It brings business into locals stores.”

While music has been a hit, performances around town will cause town officials to take another look at Vail’s noise ordinances, in order to match the regulations with the reality of performances.

Winter restaurant tents?

With summer winding down, Vlaar and other town officials have been looking at ways to help restaurants in the winter. During the summer, restaurants have boosted occupancy limits with outdoor seating. To keep some of that space, town officials are looking at ways to put tents where it’s safe and practical to do so.

Vlaar said the town, working with restaurant owners, is looking at potential suppliers for the tents.

Stockmar encouraged Vlaar and others to work with the town’s police and fire departments to ensure safety in those structures.

Vlaar said she’s had initial conversations with police and fire officials, and that safety will be a top priority.

Councilmember Travis Coggin said he understands the need to act quickly on securing tents for the winter. But he said the tents shouldn’t all look alike. The tent at Sweet Basil should look different from the one at Pepi’s, he added.

Vlaar said that’s also being considered, and the Vail Design Review Board will be involved in selecting tents for businesses that want them.

The town will be a partner in buying or leasing those tents, Vlaar said.

In addition to those efforts, Vlaar said the town is looking into a gift card program to attract visitors into town. Those cards would be business-specific, and the town would pay for the gift cards.

To attract visitors, Vlaar said the Vail Local Marketing District on Aug. 24 will launch a marketing program on the Front Range. That program will include social media, email and traditional media, she said.

“We hope to see strong (economic) performance through the fall,” Vlaar said.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com.


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