Vail Town Council candidate Travis Coggin grew up in Vail, hopes other kids can, too
Travis Coggin is one of 10 candidates — including three incumbents — running for Vail Town Council. The polling-place election is Nov. 7. The other candidates are:
Editor’s note: There are 10 candidates this year for four seats on the Vail Town Council. This is the final Vail Daily profile of each candidate. Profiles have been published in no particular order, and all of them can be found at http://www.vaildaily.com.
VAIL — Travis Coggin grew up in Vail. Three years ago, he became the proud owner of a small condo in town.
“I went from a two-bedroom with a garage (outside of town) to 560 square feet,” Coggin said. The move forced Coggin to re-evaluate his inventory of stuff. Some went to his mom’s home in Edwards, some went to the local Salvation Army. But, Coggin said, he has no regrets. He’s living in Vail. This year, he’s running for a seat on the Vail Town Council in addition to his full-time job as a regional sales representative for Arrigoni Woods.
“I wish I had a garage,” he said. “But it’s a two-minute jog to the North Trail, and I can hop on the bus (to get around town). It was worth the trade.”
Coggin grew up in a single-parent home. His mother moved to Vail in 1988, when he was 7 years old. He went through school at Red Sandstone Elementary School, Minturn Middle School and graduated from Vail Mountain School. He’s long appreciated the opportunities he’s had in town.
“I’m the beneficiary of a lot of hard work from a lot of people,” he said. Coggin played youth hockey, youth soccer and other sports. As a youngster with a working mom, Coggin learned early about the town’s transit system.
“I had the East Vail bus route memorized when I was 8,” he said. “I had a lot of freedom and independence, and it was afforded because of public infrastructure.”
Helping other kids
Coggin said he’s running for council because he wants other kids to have some of the opportunities he had.
“I want parents to have a job in Vail and be able to afford their house and not feel the pressure of moving downvalley,” Coggin said. “If someone really wants to stay in Vail, we need to work as hard as we can to keep Red Sandstone (Elementary School) full.”
Coggin said the new Chamonix townhomes in West Vail represent a “great start” in that direction. In his last job, with Triumph Development, Coggin worked with the town’s planning staff and the Vail Local Housing Authority. He said he believes Vail should become a town for everyone, from families with young children to grandparents.
While Coggin is a fan of the town’s transit system, and believes more can be done to bring more people to town in vehicles that aren’t cars, he said he’s also realistic about the limitations of transit.
“We’re never going to get rid of cars,” he said. “It’s just not practical for everyone. … We need parking, and we need transit.”
For those who live in and visit Vail, Coggin said he’s a fan of building community and cited the diversity of the town’s parks as an example.
“Certain parks are really active and vibrant,” he said. “At others, you can sit down, listen to (Gore Creek) and look at the Gore Range.”
Building community includes building up small businesses, Coggin said. That could include the town helping the development of some sort of co-working space, in which entrepreneurs share office space.
“I don’t know where that might be in Vail,” he said. “It’s worth a shot, maybe as a public-private partnership. We need to be as collaborative and creative as possible.”
No easy answers
Looking to the future, Coggin said there are no easy answers for Vail’s never-ending shortage of housing.
While the Vail 2027 housing plan is ambitious, calling for adding 1,000 deed-restricted units to the town in the next decade, Coggin said he wonders if that goal can be reached.
“We’ll eventually run out of properties that make sense, and we’re limited in what we can build,” he said. “The town of Vail is pretty land-locked. If we’re not going to (build taller buildings), how do we find a way?”
Multiple solutions need to be found, Coggin said, and town leaders have to be open to a wide range of possible answers.
But any solutions also have to answer some key questions, Coggin said.
“Does this make us a more sustainable and attainable community? Is is protecting the environment? Is it protecting the schools?” he said.
Those are hard questions to answer and will surely prompt some strong civic debate. That’s fine, Coggin said.
“When we stop fighting, we’ve lost something,” he said. “We need to be hard on issues, but remember we’re all neighbors.
“We all love being here, and all our reasons are different.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, firstname.lastname@example.org and @scottnmiller.