Vail wants public parking at new town hall
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – As with any development in the town of Vail, the issue of parking always finds it way into some of the more important town discussions.
The Vail municipal site redevelopment, which includes a new municipal building and an adjacent medical office center to be built by the Vail Valley Medical Center, Steadman Philippon Research Institute, Howard Head Sports Medicine and the Steadman Clinic, has been on its way through the town process since a concept of the public-private partnership was announced last year.
The town of Vail has been working with OZ Architecture on a schematic design for the new municipal office building. The ongoing process got some green lights by the town Tuesday, while council members questioned other parts of the various design proposals.
Tuesday’s direction was enough for the design team to continue advancing the project forward as council gave input on both exterior architecture, including building materials, as well as the proposed parking garage and the number of needed spaces.
The 345 proposed parking spaces – 230 for the medical building and 74 for the town, plus an additional 41 to be paid for by the hospital – at the site would serve both buildings, but when the design team and Community Development Director George Ruther said the initial plan is to keep the parking closed to the public on weekends, council members balked.
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“It certainly seems to me that if we’re a public facility, we would want to make our public facilities available as much as we can,” Councilwoman Margaret Rogers said.
The reason public parking hasn’t been included until now is because the way the underground parking is currently designed is so that visitors to either the medical office building or town building ride an elevator directly from the parking into those buildings. There’s not a way to access the outside when those buildings are locked and closed other than walking up the parking ramp, which wouldn’t be ideal for folks hauling their ski equipment on the weekends, Ruther said.
“There are many ways to implement a parking program on the site,” Ruther said, adding that the hospital partners are firm about not wanting to open up their 230 spaces to the public on weekends. “To date, we haven’t been instructed to build a public parking program.”
Mayor Andy Daly added that it would be “extraordinarily negligent” not to find a parking system for the public to use on weekends.
And with that, as well as direction on the building architecture, the design team will get back to work on updating the town building design.
The schematic design is the first phase in the design process and outlines a general view of the proposed development. Once the town signs off on this process, OZ Architecture can move forward with the design development phase, which includes a development application to be submitted to the town’s Planning and Environmental Commission and Design Review Board.
The hospital partners are scheduled to present an update on their planning process, including the hospital’s master plan process, at the council’s next evening meeting Aug. 21.
Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or email@example.com.