Vail Daily letter: Where have you been all this time? |

Vail Daily letter: Where have you been all this time?

Michelle "Shelley" Hall
Vail, CO, Colorado

My name is Shelley Hall and I recently finished my second term on the Vail Recreation District board of directors. I have been following the recent concerns about the 18th hole at the Vail Golf Club, and after much consideration about whether to give my input or not, I decided that since I am part of recent decisions about this project, I should.

After many meetings, presentations by Kevin Atkinson, who is the golf course designer, information from consultants and staff presented by Mike Ortiz, and discussions in board meetings, all of which were open to the public, my consistent vote to move the 18th hole was an informed and good decision, which I still stand by.

I believe that the voters made their decision clear about how to use the conference center funds, and there is a responsibility to use that money they way the voters decided.

I believe the reconfiguration of the 18th hole enhances the golfer’s experience, the clubhouse-event experience, and also the safety of the area. The Vail Recreation meetings-updates are noticed in the paper and posted on the district’s website, signs were put out on the golf course with a new design and I believe there was an article inviting the public to join the board on a walk to look at how the hole would look (via temporary markings) in April or May.

Ever since the clubhouse became a choice for using the conference center funds, it has been on the radar, which has been a while. I find it hard to believe that unless you really don’t follow what’s going on this town, spend much time here, or pick up a newspaper in hard copy or online that you are just finding out about this. Even I, someone who is the ultimate in recreational don’t-keep-score twilight golf, would notice. Even if you don’t read a paper, community news comes up in conversations that are overheard or you might get included.

If you voted and then didn’t keep up, or lost interest with how these new projects would develop, that is a personal choice. I don’t think that an 11th-hour intervention by a few that disrupts this project is very fair to the many constituents that this course serves.

I can tell you that I put many hours into reading, considering, listening, viewing plans and contemplating this project. I was so excited to see the plans, the refreshing change and resulting wow impact that Kevin has once again produced, I wanted to start building now.

What is curious is how many changes have been made to the course without negative comment, how rarely the public seemed to ever show up to Vail Recreation District Board meetings in my eight years, and how misconstrued the real information seems to have gotten and then published. If a red flag went up, then where were these people at meetings and presentations?

After eight years on the board and very deliberate efforts to work on clear, concise and transparent communication, this seems like a punch to the gut. The board, staff, Mike Ortiz and Kevin Atkinson do not deserve any of this negativity. It is very frustrating to sign up for public service and then be put in this position.

The Eagle-Vail golf course, which is about the same age as the Vail golf course, embraced some bold changes with wow results, and I think we should learn from them.

I think this is more about change then the 18th hole. I think the changes that have been made to the golf course should prove the recreation district knows what they are doing and should inspire confidence and support, not what is happening now. Parking issues seem like the easiest, not the most original, way to attack this since that issue seems to work for opposing many projects in town.

I won’t keep going on, but after eight years and having quite a bit of time invested in working on improving the golf course, I was very hurt when this issue came up. After finally getting a clubhouse, I think that this not a very nice way to celebrate the efforts of the Town Council and Vail Recreation District.

Michelle “Shelley” Hall

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