Vail loses quiet leader
Vail CO, Colorado
Shaping Vail’s future takes skill, wisdom and courage. Magic powers help, too.
As far as we know, Russ Forrest is no superhero. But his tenure as Vail’s community development director proved he had plenty of the other traits necessary to lead Vail to a prosperous future.
This week, Forrest, 41, leaves the post he’s had for the past nine years to take the city manager’s job in Snowmass Village. Vail is on the losing end of this arrangement; Forrest managed to balance the concerns of second-home owners with the desires of local residents. He saw through the redevelopment of Lionshead, which brought the Arrabelle at Vail Square project that is being built now, through a few different town council lineups.
He served as the voice of reason through several contentious proposals ” the Vail Conference Center and the redevelopment of the Crossroads building, now dubbed Solaris. Always the public servant, Forrest knew his role was to offer solutions and make recommendations to his town council, not to pander to the whims of Vail’s myriad of interest groups.
Forrest may not have enjoyed the high profile that elected officials have, but he didn’t miss out on the criticism so often directed at our local decision-makers. His job wasn’t to help developers make money or a handful of property owners keep their views. It was to look out for the community, the one that exists now and the one that will exist many years from now.
His experience here makes him well-suited for the larger responsibilities he’ll hold in Snowmass.
In the meantime, Vail has a tall order to fill.
” Tamara Miller for the editorial board