Vail looking to change the way it funds special events

Proposal includes abolishing currrent Commission on Special Events

Town of Vail officials are looking into significant changes to the town helps fund events from music to sports tournaments.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily archive

Events, often with town funding, are a significant part of Vail’s economy. It may be time to change how that town funding works.

Vail Economic Development Director Mia Vlaar, along with Special Events Coordinator Jeremy Gross and consultant Bruce Erly, recently showed the Vail Town Council a new model for event funding.

One of the biggest changes is doing away with the Commission on Special Events. Those volunteer members would then become an Event Advisory Committee, with much of the decision-making moving to a funding committee composed of town staff.

Another change would be a requirement that an event meets town goals before a proposal is reviewed. Events that don’t align with the goals of bringing people to town, boosting lodging revenue, or other factors don’t need to bother with an application, Gross said.

Gross added that a new system should focus on simplifying the proposal process, which now stretches to 19 pages.

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Other changes include adding another funding cycle to provide quicker answers, as well as creating a tangible way of measuring an event’s success.

Erly said the idea is to move “from being a granting organization to an investing organization.” The proposed system will require more accountability from event promoters, he said.

The result will be a better return on investment for the town, and also improve the quality of promoter proposals. “They’ll know what we’re asking for,” Erly said.

Council member Barry Davis, an eight-year veteran of the Commission on Special Events, had a number of questions about how the system might work, including ensuring that the town is seeking the right events, making sure that town goals are clearly defined, and ensuring that the town’s police and fire departments are involved early enough to provide proper safety measures.

Council member Jonathan Staufer said a lot of events have become “formulaic.”

“I want to make sure this system doesn’t do that,” he added.

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