Vail’s vision remains ‘premiere’
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – Ideas are all over the board in terms of what Vail Town Council members want to see happen in Vail in the coming years.
Council members met Tuesday for an extended retreat – the first was in early December – to discuss Vail’s postcard image and how to maintain it.
Within that topic came many others – from whether Vail is enough of a well-rounded community to whether it can regain its status as the No. 1, premier winter resort. Vail was ranked third in SKI magazine’s most recent readers poll. Vail is often first or second in the poll.
Councilwoman Kerry Donovan mentioned the value of maintaining that cozy image, with a character of buildings that matches the spirit of the town.
That spirit still has many unknowns, though, say some council members, mainly because three large development projects – Solaris, the Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton – have yet to open.
One thing is for certain, though – the town has more than one character, said Councilwoman Margaret Rogers.
“I don’t think we can say Vail is a unique Bavarian village, because it’s not – it hasn’t been for some time,” Rogers said.
The Town Council has agreed to set higher expectations for its customer service – the town is working with Vail Mountain operations to get weekly reports on customer service topics like parking, buses and helpfulness and friendliness of employees. But customer service extends far beyond a few categories, members said.
Rogers said Vail lacks a community center, something like the Gypsum Recreation Center where the community gathers.
Councilman Andy Daly said he’s committed to working with the school district to make sure Red Sandstone Elementary stays in Vail, or at least another school is there in its place should it move downvalley.
It was that topic of community that kept coming up among members. They recognized Vail, with its 84 percent to 16 percent ratio of second-home owners to full time residents, could use a little more of a community feel.
The question, though, is how to achieve that goal.
Daly brought up the topic everyone heard a lot during campaigning for the November Vail Town Council election – annexing Eagle-Vail.
“What if Eagle-Vail was part of the Vail community – is that something that makes sense going forward,” Daly said. “Is that something that would help keep our vitality at this end of the valley or would it burden the town (in terms of) services.”
Town Manager Stan Zemler added it to the list of topics that needed separate meetings, most of which will appear on upcoming work session agendas. Members are also set to talk about parking, using tax breaks to encourage businesses like grocery stores to open in town, a Simba Run underpass, burying Interstate 70 as a tunnel through Vail, the perceptions people have of Vail and the potential of a sin tax on liquor and cigarettes to help pay for transit.
Environment and the town’s economic future will also be discussed.
“I think you have a lot on the table here,” Zemler said.
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at email@example.com or 970-748-2983.