Vail voters OK $9.4 million – now what? |

Vail voters OK $9.4 million – now what?

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – Voters have approved the use of $9.4 million for three improvements projects in Vail, so now what?

Don’t expect to see any construction anytime soon as the town of Vail, Vail Recreation District and Vail Valley Foundation still have to work out many details, including designs, contractors, assessments of soils at the sites, and the town’s approval processes for everything from master plan amendments to the projects themselves.

The town of Vail did as much preliminary work as it could without being presumptuous that voters would approve the three projects in Tuesday’s election, Town Manager Stan Zemler said.

And since Tuesday’s results that authorize the use of the funds, the town isn’t wasting any time in terms of getting started on the work.

“We start meeting this afternoon,” Zemler said Wednesday. “We are bringing everyone together who has a role.”

Zemler said that while some preparation work has been completed, nobody took the election for granted. Now that there’s a green light, however, it’s time get busy.

Because the town of Vail has already budgeted for a “fair amount” of capital projects in 2012, the scheduling of all of these project will be critical. Zemler said it will be very important to continue to use all of the facilities throughout the process, so timing and scheduling, including phasing within the various projects, has to be “clearly thought through,” he said.

One of the first things to do is geo-technical work, meaning studies and assessments of the soils and other materials at the sites. Zemler said after the Wednesday afternoon meeting that the work would start almost immediately, probably within a few days.

Then the town, Vail Valley Foundation and Vail Recreation District need to decide if there will be one contractor to do the work on all three sites or more than one. The town will also decide how to fit in some of its other scheduled capital projects, such as a new entryway to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, with the other three projects in terms of timing and construction. The town has budgeted a total of $2.5 million in Ford Park improvements for 2012.

Zemler said the way the tasks are all divided among the various groups also needs to be figured out.

“I think we’re kind of primed to start getting some requests for proposals out the door,” Zemler said.

Vail Valley Foundation President Ceil Folz said the Foundation has hired Jack Hunn, who worked on the original Ford Amphitheater, to help facilitate the request for proposals processes for architects, builders and others.

The Foundation is matching the funds approved for the amphitheater project by voters Tuesday, which equals about $3 million. Folz said the foundation will now begin the work of raising that $3 million, with hopes of breaking ground in the fall of 2012. She added that the Foundation hopes to hire workers for the project who are based in Eagle County, if possible.

The fields at Ford Park could see dirt being moved around by the fall of 2012, too, Zemler said.

The golf course clubhouse work, however, probably won’t begin until the spring of 2013, which Zemler added is just pure speculation at this point. That project is expected to take longer to get through approvals because it needs to first have an architect design the building and then go through the town’s design review approval process, too.

The Amphitheater and Ford Park projects will be done in phases, and there will be relatively short windows for construction for all three of the projects, Zemler said.

“We’re not going to disrupt the normal activities that take place at any of those facilities,” Zemler said. “We’ll have to do some thoughtful planning.”

Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

Support Local Journalism