Vail wants $20M from county for housing
Eagle County, CO Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY ” Vail wants Eagle County to chip in $20 million to help fund two housing projects.
Vail asked for $10 million to put toward the redevelopment of TImber Ridge and $10 million for housing on the Chamonix site. Partnering with the county is one possibility for making the two housing projects work, said Vail Town Manager Stan Zemler.
“It’s going to take some unique collaboration to make these projects work,” Zemler said.
County Commissioner Sara Fisher ” who has made housing one of her priorities as an official ” said the county has had discussions with Vail about partnering financially on housing.
“I applaud them for coming to the county,” Fisher said. “You can’t hurt them for asking. I’m pretty certain that they’re not coming at it with an expectation that they’ll receive it all, but it’s a starting point and a place to have discussion.”
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Zemler said he isn’t making any assumptions about how much money the town might receive from the county.
“We’re not basing our decision on either of the two projects on that,” he said. “But if we’re sharing the goal of trying to create both affordable and rental housing for a variety of workers, we’re going to have to find some different ways to structure these projects.”
The requests from Vail are part of a $36 million capital projects wish list compiled by Tom Johnson, director of facilities management for Eagle County. Johnson started taking both in-house and outside funding requests in August and will present the list to the county commissioners next week.
The economic recession makes housing and transportation projects more important, Fisher said.
“Now is a good time to be making those investments ” the things that make us sustainable,” Fisher said. “With capital expenditures, you have to be forecasting well into the future.”
Projects the commissioners decide to fund are paid for from the county’s capital improvement fund. A portion of the county’s sales tax revenue is dedicated to the fund.
Vail also requested money for a fire station in West Vail, construction on the frontage roads and a new pedestrian crossing of Interstate 70.
This year’s requests ” the majority of which are from county departments ” are considerably less then the last two years when the total was closer to $60 million. The county has typically funded about $4 million of the requests, Johnson said.
Staff recommended funding 10 of the projects on the list of about 50. Included in the funding recommendations is money for the addition to the justice center, new aerial photography of the county, repairs to the El Jebel community center roof, a sheriff substation at a proposed fieldhouse in Edwards, repairs to the Red Cliff wastewater plant and the addition of shoulders on parts of Highway 6.
“We just don’t know what the economy is going to allow this year,” Johnson said. “It’s more than I thought we would do but it’s all pretty important stuff.”
Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.