Vail Daily letter: Devil’s in the details with medical-municipal complex
Vail, CO, Colorado
Viewed from 50,000 feet, the town of Vail and Vail Valley Medical Center partnership sounds like a good thing for all parties involved. But it’s complicated. To explain with a bit of spice, think of my explanations as the follow-on to comedian Bob Newhart’s famous monologue opening, “Let me get this straight”:
• First, the term “partnership” is out, as the lawyers did not like it – now being replaced with an arm’s length “development” arrangement among consenting adults/organizations.
• Further, it’s now all about bold leadership – setting the precedent of selling Vail land without voter approval will provide the hoped-for future, giving younger leaders the option of digging into the piggy bank of Vail land whenever needed.
• And it’s all about the new math – selling land for $5 million and getting a chance to tear down and replace the municipal building for $15 million, coupled with still leaving a little in the capital budget kitty.• Rules are made to be broken. The shared Vail Valley Medical Center/town of Vail parking is located on the land to be sold, hence requiring a very formal, joined at the hip, very legal “partnership” agreement allowing the town to park on the land it just sold.
• Not much discussed is the planned bridge over the South Frontage Road – a double-decker with one way on each level to avoid wheelchair head-on collisions.
• It’s all about doing your own thing (within reason, of course). The previously discussed ironclad deed restrictions for type of occupants are now out, hence medical marijuana, etc., are in.
• But just to show financial prudence – the Vail Police Department will not be redeveloped, as they are just fine with their comfortable offices and cells.
• And we almost forgot moving the helicopter pad. Some feel the top of Vail Mountain near the Lionshead gondola will provide options of in- and out-bound mechanized transport or high-speed, in-bound toboggan transport.
• Not discussed at all is losing control of one’s own destiny – from the project’s start in May, a third party has been the grand designer and as recently as January, the Town Council has been meekly asking the most basic of questions and not wanting to appear to its partner – oops, co-developer – that it is in any way dragging its feet that could push completion past January 2015.
• Finally, it clearly is all about full employment – keeping accountants and lawyers busy keeping the two codevelopers at arm’s length.
This letter is meant to inform – but in a slightly wacky way. This is not being a naysayer. My concern is five years down the line saying, “Why did we do it the way we did it?”
The idea is great, but the devil is always in the details.