Vail Town Council candidate profile: Barry Davis hopes to shape town’s future
- Barry Davis
- Kevin Foley (incumbent)
- Kim Langmaid (incumbent)
- Jen Mason (incumbent)
- Karen Perez
- Pete Seibert
- Brian Stockmar
VAIL — Barry Davis has been thinking about running for Vail Town Council since shortly after he moved to town in 1999. Years later, he’s learned there’s no best time, and no time like the present to get involved.
Davis is a co-owner of the Yellowbelly restaurant group, and now works from home for a venture called GrowLife, which supplies hydroponic growing systems.
While Davis grew up in the hospitality industry — he spent much of his youth in Yellowstone National Park, the son of National Park Service employees — he jumped at the chance to work from home, to spend more time with his young son. Still, he said, he hopes to keep a hand in the restaurant business as long as he can.
“When we retire, we want to own a small restaurant in Vail,” Davis said.
Vail was Davis’ draw after college, coming to ski for a winter. That first winter working at Pazzo’s led to other jobs in the town’s restaurants and bars. Eventually, he managed Bol in Solaris, and later became a partner in the Yellowbelly group.
For now, though, Davis isn’t working the long, late hours required of an in-the-kitchen restaurateur, and said he now has the personal “bandwidth” a council position requires.
While this is Davis’ first attempt at seeking elective office, he’s currently a member of the Vail Commission on Special Events. He said that group has made some hard decisions, both approving and denying funding requests.
One of those decisions was to help fund a mixed martial arts event at Dobson Ice Arena. That raised eyebrows throughout the community. But the event just had its second appearance in Vail, and has drawn good crowds.
On the other side of the funding picture was a decision to pull funding from the town’s long-running film festival.
That also turned out to be a good decision, Davis said.
“It was kind of what they needed,” he said. “They needed a reboot.”
Davis said those and other decisions have prepared him for the current split in the community over the proposed Booth Heights workforce housing proposal.
Davis acknowledged there are likely to be lingering hard feelings over whatever decision is finally made on that plan.
In cases like that, Davis said it’s important for the town council or one of its boards to follow the processes laid out in the town code. And, he added, once a decision is made, it’s important for a board to move forward as a unit.
Future tough decisions will face the council, particularly regarding more ideas for workforce housing.
Davis is a fan of the Vail InDeed program, and a real fan of the Chamonix townhome neighborhood in West Vail. He lives there — as does fellow candidate Pete Seibert.
“Chamonix is like Vail’s Norman Rockwell painting,” Davis said. “My son (who’s 5) plays in the street with a pack of kids. Last night my wife took my son and the neighborhood boys berry picking.”
But, Davis said, there are other types of housing the town needs to focus on.
“There’s a demand for a first opportunity to live in Vail,” Davis said.
But now’s the time to act, he said, both personally and as a town.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a long time,” Davis said of his council run. Vail is home for the Davis family, and he said, it’s time to invest more of himself in the community.
“If you want to get involved, then get involved,” he said.
Jon Asper flashes a million-watt smile as he empties a clip on the machine gun some friends helped him fire at a local gun range.