Vail to fund playground, ski champs bid | VailDaily.com
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Vail to fund playground, ski champs bid

Melanie Wong
mwong@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – The town of Vail, Colorado will pitch in funds for a new playground at Red Sandstone Elementary, as well as money to help bring the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships to town.

The town council voted to give $25,000 to each effort Tuesday night, despite other cuts in the town’s budget that included postponing some snowmelt projects in Vail Village.

The grant to the Red Sandstone Elementary will help the school buy new playground equipment, which according to Harry McQueeney, one of the school’s principals, is deteriorating and becoming a safety concern.

“The equipment that’s out there now, you could poke it apart with a pencil,” he said. “However, we’ve found that playground equipment is very expensive. And these last few winters, while great for skiing, has been rough on our playground.”

The school’s parent/teacher organization has raised the rest of the money needed for the playground. The school district told the school it did not have the funds to help with the new equipment. The school’s other option was to wait for the next bond election, which will happen in 2011 at the earliest.

The other grant will go to the Vail Valley Foundation to help in their pursuit of the 2015 Alpine Ski Championships. The community is in the process of making its case for holding the event in Vail, a process that will cost about $250,000. A decision will be made by the International Ski Federation next spring.

Beaver Creek Ski Resort, Vail Resorts and the U.S. Ski Team have also contributed money to the effort.

The Vail Town Council decided to contribute to the effort because the event would have a major economic impact on the town and would be a major tourist attraction that would increase recognition of Vail as a world-class destination, the council said.

Smaller cuts made

Meanwhile, the town is looking to save in other ways beyond the nearly $2 million in cuts that it has already made. Two snowmelt projects, which would have put snowmelting equipment under Vail Village’s Covered Bridge and on Vail Valley Drive, will be postponed, saving the town $300,000.

Money for public art in Vail almost took cuts as well, when Councilman Andy Daly suggested that the town could go without some streetscape improvements and could wait to move a Jesus Moroles sculpture, which would cost $125,000. The sculpture has been in storage since it was replaced by the Seibert Circle Fountain.

Others argued that the sculpture was a valuable asset that the town wasn’t using, and that it should be displayed as soon as possible.

“We have a piece of art built by an internationally recognized artist that we have sitting in storage at public works,” said Town Councilwoman Margaret Rogers.

Not enough, or doing well?

Some have said that the cuts are coming too late and that the town still has room to be more efficient.

“I think the town was remiss in not making these cuts a year ago,” said Vail resident Kaye Ferry, referring to a group of citizens led by Vail resident Kent Logan that cautioned the town to prepare for a tough ski season.

“Kent Logan warned a year ago that the worst was yet to come, but the council went along as if the world wasn’t going to end, and now are having to make more significant cuts. They should have been doing this all along.”

She said the town shouldn’t have given employee raises last year, and that they should be looking hard at how to save time and money.

Vail resident and former town councilman Greg Moffet said the town went through a similar time after 9/11, when revenues dropped 20 percent. The town had to cut back its budget by 10 percent, which involved cutting positions and reducing the town payroll significantly, he said.

“It’s ultimately healthy for government to go through this,” he said. “If you don’t go through this process with a gun to your head, you’re not going to do it.”

However, he said that he is confident that the town will perform well through the cuts.

“As governments go, the people who work at the town at Vail are so high quality that they get this – that they have to pull together and that all the years aren’t good,” he said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

Meanwhile, the town is looking to save in other ways beyond the nearly $2 million in cuts that it has already made. Two snowmelt projects, which would have put snowmelting equipment under Vail Village’s Covered Bridge and on Vail Valley Drive, will be postponed, saving the town $300,000.

Money for public art in Vail almost took cuts as well, when Councilman Andy Daly suggested that the town could go without some streetscape improvements and could wait to move a Jesus Moroles sculpture, which would cost $125,000. The sculpture has been in storage since it was replaced by the Seibert Circle Fountain.

Others argued that the sculpture was a valuable asset that the town wasn’t using, and that it should be displayed as soon as possible.

“We have a piece of art built by an internationally recognized artist that we have sitting in storage at public works,” said Town Councilwoman Margaret Rogers.

Some have said that the cuts are coming too late and that the town still has room to be more efficient.

“I think the town was remiss in not making these cuts a year ago,” said Vail resident Kaye Ferry, referring to a group of citizens led by Vail resident Kent Logan that cautioned the town to prepare for a tough ski season.

“Kent Logan warned a year ago that the worst was yet to come, but the council went along as if the world wasn’t going to end, and now are having to make more significant cuts. They should have been doing this all along.”

She said the town shouldn’t have given employee raises last year, and that they should be looking hard at how to save time and money.

Vail resident and former town councilman Greg Moffet said the town went through a similar time after 9/11, when revenues dropped 20 percent. The town had to cut back its budget by 10 percent, which involved cutting positions and reducing the town payroll significantly, he said.

“It’s ultimately healthy for government to go through this,” he said. “If you don’t go through this process with a gun to your head, you’re not going to do it.”

However, he said that he is confident that the town will perform well through the cuts.

“As governments go, the people who work at the town at Vail are so high quality that they get this – that they have to pull together and that all the years aren’t good,” he said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.


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