Vail Town Council delays $4.6 million construction project
Retaining wall at town shop complex would add nearly an acre of land to the site
Buyer’s remorse can apply to local government, too.
The Vail Town Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to delay for at least a year a $4.6 million project at the town shop complex, which is on the north side of Interstate 70 between the main Vail and East Vail interchanges.
The move comes after the council on May 5 voted 6-0 to approve the project. This year’s portion of the project would have built a new retaining wall on the site. That wall is expected to be roughly 950 feet long and up to 22 feet high. The project would also have included a water line extension, drainage improvements and electric service improvements.
When complete, the wall will free up nearly an acre of buildable space on the site.
That work is needed before building a new streets maintenance building. That project has an estimated cost of $12.7 million.
While the project is needed — much of the public works facility was built in 1979 — councilmembers agreed to delay the project due to economic uncertainty related to the COVID-19 virus pandemic.
Councilmember Jenn Bruno was the first to ask to reconsider the project. Bruno said she had second thoughts about the project shortly after she voted to approve it.
“Yes, we need this, and yes, it is budgeted, but we can wait a year and see what happens.”
Councilmember Brian Stockmar made the motion to approve the project at the May 5 meeting.
But, he said, he, too, soon started thinking about possibly delaying the project.
“I started to think about whether or not the timing was right,” Stockmar said, adding that while the project is important in the long run, this year isn’t a good time to start.
Bruno, co-owner of the Luca Bruno clothing stores, said business owners she’s been talking to lately believe that a “good” summer this year will be down 50% from last year. That led her to believe that the money budgeted for the retaining wall may be needed for more urgent town needs.
Mayor Dave Chapin noted that even as the virus fades, there’s no way of knowing whether or not the next ski season will be successful.
“If we do spend this money and have a bad snow year… we might not have the money to do other capital projects that are more important,” Chapin said.
Vail Public Works Director Greg Hall told councilmembers that some of the smaller items on the project list could be done this year.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at email@example.com.
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