Vail Town council gets update about airport |

Vail Town council gets update about airport

Board: Vail Town Council, work session and evening meeting on Tuesday.

Present: Jenn Bruno, Greg Moffet, Margaret Rogers, Dave Chapin, Dale Bugby, and Mayor Andy Daly.

Absent: Ludwig Kurz.

Topic: Meeting at the Eagle County Regional Airport.

Who they met with/talked to: Eagle County commissioners Sara Fisher, Jill Ryan and Kathy Chandler Henry; county aviation director Greg Phillips; Vail Valley Jet Center general manager Paul Gordon; and Michael Brown, of the EGE Air Alliance.

What they talked about: Phillips gave the council a presentation about the state of the airport. To pull a 90-minute presentation into a couple of sentences, Phillips talked about passenger numbers, which peaked in 2007, and may finally have bottomed out this season. He also talked about improvement plans at the facility, which could add up to more than $200 million over 20 years if a new, private, “fixed base operator” facility is approved.

The discussion also included information about trying to lure new flights to the airport. That’s where Brown made his pitch, since the Alliance has been raising money the past two years to pay “revenue guarantees” for the United Airlines summer flight from Houston.

What’s next? More private fundraising and, possibly, a fall ballot question that asks for a tax-based funding source to pay revenue guarantees for more new flights.

Topic: Funding request from the Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council.

Who they talked to: John Dawsey and Dave Ratchford.

What they talked about: The marketing district representatives came to the council to ask for a budget adjustment in order to pay for a couple of things: A study of people who don’t know come to Vail and a summer billboard campaign.

The new projects — which together will cost about $100,000 — will be paid for out of existing district funds, but the spending needed to be approved by the council.

What’s next? Clever billboards along westbound Interstate 70 in the Denver area.

Topic: Speeding up the process of converting Vail’s streetlights to LED bulbs.

Who they talked to: Town public works director Greg Hall.

How this will work: Hall told the council that the current schedule for replacing streetlights covers between 12 and 16 lights per year, at a cost of about $70,000 per year. Hall recommended using grants and rebates from Holy Cross Energy, along with town funds, to replace more than 80 fixtures this year, in advance of the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships.

Council members approved the spending, which means the town will spend less on light replacement in coming years.

What’s next? Work.

Topic: Booth Creek Park redevelopment.

Who they talked to: Todd Oppenheimer, town capital projects manager.

What they talked about: Booth Creek Park in East Vail needs renovation. Oppenheimer showed the council a few options for the park, some of which included renovating the tennis courts there. Another put a skate park on the property.

Council members asked Oppenheimer to show the plans to neighborhood residents — an open house is scheduled later this month. But council members also asked Oppenheimer to take the skate park out of the possible options.

What’s next: That meeting later this month.

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