Vail parking tops Realtors’ candidate forum
VAIL, Colorado – The nine candidates for Vail Town Council took their candidate forum road show to west Vail Monday.
The Vail Board of Realtors hosted the Monday forum at the Holiday Inn. Candidates talked about themselves and answered now-familiar questions about parking, conference center money and the West Vail fire station. But the candidates also answered some face-to-face questions from the small audience that turned out for the breakfast meeting.
Many of the questions were about parking.
Vail resident Frank McKibben said many of the town’s private parking garages are rarely full, and wondered if the town could require more public parking from private developers.
Candidate Susie Tjossem said the current winter parking crunch should be re-evaluated when Vail’s big construction projects are finished.
“I think when you take away the construction workers, it will give us time to re-examine the issue,” she said.
Incumbent Mark Gordon said the town is “slowly chipping away” at the parking problem, by adding parking at other spots in town.
“The real problem is if the (structures) aren’t full,” Gordon said.
Candidate Buddy Lazier said more developers should shoulder the load for more public parking in the future, adding that the town shouldn’t pay to add more spaces.
Resident Sue Rychel asked if it’s realistic to add more space at Ford Park by digging down. Candidate Scott Proper said that could be done, but only at a high cost.
“There’s a lot of other alternatives we could do for $45 million,” he said.
Those alternatives aren’t particularly easy either, incumbent Kim Newbury said. She said that expanding parking at Ford Park – frequently mentioned as a place more cars could be parked – would be opposed by a lot of residents.
Candidate Kerry Donovan wondered if adding parking might just encourage more people to come to Vail in peak times, adding that satellite parking areas and mass transit might be better alternatives.
Local architect Chris Green asked the candidates what Vail’s role in the future of the rest of the valley ought to be.
“Vail needs to realize that what we do on this end of the valley has impacts down valley, too,” incumbent Kevin Foley said. Candidate Ludwig Kurz agreed, saying Vail “has to consider the whole valley in what we do.”
After the session, McKibben said the meeting with the candidates will help him decide which of the four candidates to select on Election Day, which is Nov. 3.
“It was good they spent the time with us,” McKibben said, adding that none of the audience left without a chance to ask questions.
Resident Sue Dugan said she was disappointed more people didn’t attend the session, but said she thought it was valuable time spent with the candidates. Dugan, who said she’s lived in Vail since the 1970s, said it’s good to see Donovan and Lazier – both of whom grew up in Vail – running for office, and said it was good to see all the candidates in person.
“I think it helps to see them speak and answer questions,” Dugan said.
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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