VRD board won’t run bubble next season
Here’s an update from the Aug. 31 meeting of the Vail Recreation District Board:Bubble burstThe Vail Recreation District Board voted 5-0 Tuesday to put the town’s ice bubble in storage for a year.Despite a seven-week effort to save the bubble for another season, the board upheld a decision made earlier this year to not operate the facility in the coming season due to continuing operating losses.Following a meeting last week, local ice users launched a last-ditch effort to show the district board signed contracts and deposit checks for ice use at both the bubble and Dobson Ice Arena. That effort fell short. Several contracts came in, but just one check was received.While the ice users created a schedule that appeared to support ice time at both facilities at a “break even” level, Dobson manager Irv Gladstone created a schedule that squeezed all current user groups into the arena.Women’s hockey league founder Ginny Crowley told the board the Dobson-only schedule doesn’t accommodate growth in her league. Another potential hurdle is the nine-day National Brotherhood of Skiers convention next season, which will take skating out of Dobson for nine days in February. Board member Nino Liccardi said the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District has offered to help accommodate lost game times at the ice rink in Eagle, and urged district staff to work with the Brotherhood to try to open up skating time at the arena.In the end, all five board members agreed with colleague Peter Cook that accommodating “the users we know about” at Dobson is enough for now.”We just can’t spend big money for small increments of service, and that’s what the bubble has been,” Cook said.The board voted to store the bubble for a year – and encouraged skaters to spend the next year coming up with ways to fill it in the 2005 -06 season – and agreed to pay up to $5,000 to cover the storage costs.Tax questionThe board also voted to ask voters for a pair of tax increases, one a mill levy hike to fund operating costs and a capital improvement program, the other to finance a roughly $6 million bond issue renovation to the Vail golf course clubhouse and nordic ski center.In discussing specific ballot language, board members agreed to put in items the mill increase would pay for, such as a new irrigation system at the golf course.