Vail Town Council meeting update |

Vail Town Council meeting update

Scott N. Miller

Following a couple of public meetings, the team designing the Vail Conference Center is ready to bring drawings for public inspection in the next few weeks.

The meetings, held Aug. 18 and Sept. 2, drew more than 150 comments from about 100 people, design team member Rick Pylman said.

Fentress Bradburn Architects, the Denver firm leading the design team, is now using the comments as part of its efforts to present three design options to the public. Those options will first be reviewed Sept. 21 at a joint meeting between the Vail Town Council and the town’s Design Review Board and Planning and Environmental Commission.

The next day an open house will be held from 4 – 6:30 p.m. at the Vail Public Library.

In reviewing the comments, council member Kent Logan urged the designers to make sure the building would be useful even when it isn’t hosting big groups.

“Be very sensitive to the fact it’s not a black, shuttered building that’s only open during events,” Logan said.

Council member Diana Donovan urged the design team to be deliberate if needed.

The council voted 7-0 to approve sending “request for qualification” documents to interested contractors.

A pine beetle infestation has been spreading through the Rocky Mountain west since 1996 or before. Attacking it in one area near Vail will be difficult and expensive.

District Ranger Cal Wettstein said the U.S. Forest Service has only limited options for controlling an outbreak above the Streamside/Intermountain area south of Interstate 70 in West Vail.

The area is steep, crossed with small creek drainages and is in a potential roadless area, Wettstien said. That leaves just about one option: going in, cutting trees by hand, then burning the slash piles when conditions permit.

After cutting the lodgepole pines, aspen groves in the area should expand, providing releif from both the beetle infestation and some fire protection.

Men with chainsaws is an expensive way to manage forests, Wettstein said. And, he added, if the area was just about anywhere but above Vail, “We’d let nature take its course.”

In the long run, though, the hard way is about the only way to expand aspen habitat and, perhaps, thwart the next beetle infestation 20 years down the road.

Contracts to do the work could be signed within the next 12 ” 18 months, Wettstein said.

The town is starting to look for buyers for the Vail ice bubble.

The Vail Recreation District board voted recently to not operate the bubble for another season.

While the town will probably provide a non-refrigerated, outdoor rink at the Vail Golf Course driving range, council members Dick Cleveland and Diana Donovan encouraged the town to pursue a more permanent solution for a second ice sheet in town.

“The outdoor rink is of extremely limited utility,” council member Greg Moffett said.

Council member Diana Donovan reminded board members the bubble is an effective sheet of ice, if not a permanent solution to the town’s needs.

While the bubble isn’t for sale at the moment, town staff will start work to try to determine the facility’s value and, perhaps, look at just who would want the thing.

By Scott N. Miller, Vail Daily staff writer (970) 949-0555 ex. 613. Scott can be reached at

Vail, Colorado

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