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Vail Valley Voices: Town, hospital partner

Vail Homeowners Association
Vail, CO, Colorado

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association monthly report for February. We publish weekly excerpts from the association, which keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the town. The newsletter electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at http://www.vailhomeowners.com.

The town of Vail is willing to invest, by allocation of public land and financial resources, in what it and others consider the next revenue-growth magnate: the expansion of the medical-services industry.

The Town Council has entered into a joint agreement with the Vail Valley Medical Center to redevelop the town’s municipal building site to build a medical office building and a new $15 million municipal office building.

It is their joint strategy to free up space in the existing medical center so other uses can expand on its adjacent main campus.

Both the town and medical center are putting considerable research into the project’s feasibility. The public is awaiting release of the project’s economic cost-benefit projections.

If the numbers pencil out, the project could be a great boon to the community and solve other needs, as well.

Vetting process must be thorough: True to Vail’s project-vetting process, there are those raising questions about potential inherent risks.

They are troubled by the intent of the council to approve the project itself, without voter approval, as the town believes it has ample financial reserves to handle unexpected circumstances.

Council members recall the value of following “the process” in vetting the town’s proposed convention center. Had the convention center been built, given the recession’s precipitous decline in group business, it would have become a drain on the town’s budget. They point out that the town has spent millions in the past two decades on consultants for several public-private projects that later proved unfeasible.

Kicking the can down the road or into someone else’s yard should not be an option: Affected property owners have raised concerns that the project needs to fulfill the medical center’s long-standing obligations to remove its traffic from West Meadow Drive and upgrade its service dock facilities.

Neighbors also are concerned that the medical center will use the redevelopment as an excuse to relocate its helicopter landing pad into the midst of the surrounding residential neighborhood.


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