Vail Council approves Seibert Circle re-do
VAIL ” The top of Bridge Street will have a new look by the time the lifts open this fall.
The Vail Town Council voted 5-2 Tuesday night to re-do Seibert Circle, and replace the existing sculpture plaza with something new, at an estimated cost of as much as $1.1 million Council members Dick Cleveland and Kim Ruotolo voted against the plan, objecting spending money for a new plaza when the old plaza had been completed just a few years ago.
But the overwhelming sentiment held that with upper Bridge Street set for extensive streetscape work this year, now is the time for something new.
A committee started work in February on plans to replace the current sculpture plaza, created by artist Jesus Moroles, with something more in keeping with its surroundings.
“The plan I see here is something my father would have liked, said Pete Seibert Jr. “My father liked Jesus Moroles as a person, but he didn’t care for the art.”
At a February meeting, only a couple of residents said they liked the Moroles sculpture.
“It’s been a polarizing sculpture,” said Alan Kosloff, a Vail Village homeowner who served on a committee that created a preliminary design for a new plaza. “It’s not cheap. But it’s the most important square in town. We paid $12 million for a new community center, and we’re thinking about spending $42 million for a convention center. This is money well spent.”
The money for the new plaza will come from a couple of sources. Most will come from the town’s Real Estate Transfer Tax fund. Vail Resorts has also agreed to contribute up to $500,000, but company attorney Jay Peterson said the exact contribution, if any, hasn’t been determined yet.
A pair of Vail Village business owners agreed that money spent now is money well spent.
Asked what they think of the proposed replacement design, Christiania owner Paul Johnston and Moose’s Caboose owner George Knox answered in unison: “It’s great.”
“Anything’s better than what’s there now,” Knox added.
While most council members agreed, there are a few caveats.
First, the design isn’t final yet, although town public works director Greg Hall said most of the elements are in place. There’s still room for things like fire and water features, and whether there should be anything atop a vertical structure.
Council member Greg Moffet, who first voted against the plaza renovation in February, changed his vote after hearing public sentiment. But, he said, the design does need to be refined.
“The comments I’ve heard are that this design is unimaginative,” Moffet said. “I would like it not so stark.”
The committee that created the first design is now charged with finishing the job in time for the work to be finished by the end of this year.
When the work starts, the Moroles sculpture will be taken out of Seibert Circle and stored for a while. That move comes with Moroles permission. Town officials will then look for a new site for the sculpture, which cost about $800,000.
“I finally get to say, ‘I told you so,'” said Sheika Gramshammer. “This is our chance to do something right for Pete and for Vail. This looks more like Vail.”
Staff writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or at email@example.com