We’ll see about 2005
So my dear editor, per his Sept. 10 commentary, thinks the business community will be doing just fine if all of the current projects are completed. I guess the word IF is the problem in that statement. And of course WHEN is the other moving target in his synopsis.
As I’ve told him numerous times, if he got out once in awhile and mingled in the real world, he could have attended the streetscape meeting on Sept. 10, where he would have been faced with his first misconception. By 2005, Don assures us all that “if all goes planned, the gem of ski communities will glisten anew.” First error. We will only be about 25 percent through the streetscape plan – roughly Wall Street, Bridge Street and Gore Creek Drive from the creek to the Children’s Fountain. There’s a whole lot more after that.
Further, in the gospel according to Don, by 2005, “Four Seasons and other new high-end hotels will be in place” – not if the Four Seasons doesn’t resolve their parking conflict with 9 Vail Road, they won’t. They’re already behind schedule. And what are the others?
“Crossroads will be revamped.” We’d all like to know where DR got that insight because so far nobody’s betting on that redevelopment, although I hear there’s yet another proposal out there.
To continue. “Front Door remake of Vail Village completed, Lionshead reborn, conference center up and running, etc.” Where would one start with all of those misstatements?
The Front Door Project will start next year if they ever get through the TOV approval process. And the really big “if” hinges on approval of the Forest Service land exchange. That has to happen first. Once started it will take three years until it’s completed. Lionshead plans haven’t even made it to PEC or DRB. Town Council comes after that, and we all know what that means.
Earliest anticipated start date on the Lionshead core is 2005. And the conference center is in the review process. Like it or not, the committee is doing feasability studies, market analysis, etc. No decision has been made on moving forward, no architect hired, no budgets prepared, much less any forms filled out. Even if that were all done, the place couldn’t move through the process (PEC/DRB/TC) and be built by 2005 – looks like that will actually be the earliest start date.
And then he implies again that the temporary parking plan for this year is a result of unnecessary panic. You bet. Nobody wants someone’s kid killed out there. Of course, Mr. Rogers won’t ski here on the weekends. Too much traffic and no place to park.
So why did Don write this? Your guess is as good as mine. Did he mean to imply that the urgency of the economy and the subsequent community meetings on it aren’t valid? Or that the community survey results did not accurately reflect the concerns of the voters? Of course, he dismissed the survey on the theory that the results always change. Duh! Of course they change. The results reflect the community’s priorities as they change. If they didn’t change, we wouldn’t need a new survey each year. We could keep looking at the old one and never adapt.
Yet when it’s all said and done, it’ll be great. But the “said and done” part is the problem. Snails move faster than most projects in this town and that’s, of course, after we’ve beaten it to death with thousands of hours of dialogue.
In one respect, Don and the business community agree. Keep your eye on the ball. Which ball is the question. There’s an urgency here. Streetscape needs to be fast-tracked and it has to include more than streets. Regulations need to be significantly relaxed. And not just for the businesses. Every attempt made to improve Vail should be met with enthusiasm and not reams of forms to be filled out.
We have systematically forced businesses and residents out of town with our elitist attitudes and unbending rules. How sick is everybody of the term “world class”? And then we sit back and wonder why. Why the economy has hit the skids and believe me, the momentum started long before 9/11. Why no one lives here any more. Why businesses can’t afford to be here. Why we’re all tortured with beauracracy. Why the stores are empty and the houses dark.
As most of us already know, we’re our own worst enemy. Things have to change or they will get worse. One way for that to happen is to elect a new council that believes in cutting the conversation and getting on with the action. Raising sales tax revenues has to be the overriding objective of every decision made in the short run. Then and only then will we have the resources to address long range projects.
So if there’s anyone out there getting ready to spend another night in front of the boob tube, stop and think for a moment about the upcoming election. You CAN make a difference, and you owe the community some service. This just might be your chance to help carve out a new future for Vail while there’s still time. If you do nothing, you can count on nothing.
Ballot-nominating petitions can be picked up from the Town Clerk’s Office. They require 10 signatures and must be returned by Oct. 3. This could be your chance to make a difference. If nobody new steps up to the plate, we will only have more of the same. Is that really the best we can do?
KUDOS: If you missed David Williams Sept. 5 article in the Trail, “Confessions of a reformed day skier,” go find it. There is hope for editors. He completely and accurately nailed the problem – it’s the parking, stupid!
ALSO: Speaking of “world class,” interesting response to a request to use Donovan Park for an event. One Town Council person responded that it couldn’t take place in the new pavilion unless it was a “classy” event. Would anyone care to speculate on what that means? Is the term “classy” event part of the application process?
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Would you ask the fox what he intends to do once he’s in the hen house?
Do your part, call them and write them.
To contact the Town Council, call 479-1860, ext. 8, or e-mail email@example.com. To contact Vail Resorts, call 476-5601 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, vaildaily.com-search:ferry
Kaye Ferry is a longtime observer of Vail government. She writes a weekly column for the Daily.