Wendy’s site eyed for West Vail fire station
VAIL ” West Vail may soon be trading hamburgers for hoses.
The town of Vail has an agreement to buy the Wendy’s property on the north side of I-70 and west of the roundabout, potentially for the long-promised West Vail fire station.
“This is a very exciting time,” said Vail Fire Chief John Gulick, a longtime proponent of the station.
The Town Council will be asked to approve the $2 million purchase of the property at its Tuesday meeting.
The town had planned to put the fire station on the town-owned Chamonix property, above Wendy’s. The Wendy’s site is better for the station because it’s father away from houses and has better access to Vail roads, Town Manager Stan Zemler said.
With land scarce in Vail, Zemler said it was a good opportunity to buy property that borders town-owned land.
“It’s really seizing the moment,” he said.
In current budgets, there is money to design and build the station. But the town hasn’t yet come up with the money to operate the station. That should cost about $450,000 the first year.
The town will now research operating costs and begin design work in the fall, Zemler said.
Councilwoman Kim Newbury is a resident of the Chamonix neighborhood and has worked with her neighbors and the town on a plan for the area. She is a proponent of a West Vail fire station, and she said the Wendy’s purchase could accelerate the fire station timeline.
“I think it makes it more likely that it would happen more quickly,” she said.
The Wendy’s would stay open under a lease from the town until March 2007.
The owner of the property, WendVail Partnerships Ltd., approached the town about buying the property, and negotiations lasted several months, Zemler said.
In 2002, the town bought the 3.6-acre Chamonix property for $2.6 million. The town plans a combination of residential, recreation and open space for the site.
The town first promised to build a fire station in West Vail in 1981. Vail has fire stations in Vail Village and East Vail.
Response times for West Vail can now reach seven minutes, almost double the average response time of four minutes, Gulick said. Those are crucial minutes, Gulick said.
“Plain and simple, if there’s a structure fire, its growth rate is exponential,” he said.
A growing number of responses is required in West Vail as the neighborhood has grown as a commercial and residential center, Gulick said.
Vail also responds to accidents on the interstate toward Dowd Junction, Gulick said.
With the issue of the West Vail fire station having come and gone on the agenda for 25 years, Gulick said it’s hard for some of his colleagues to get excited about the prospect. But Gulick was optimistic.
“I hope we continue to move forward,” he said.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or email@example.com.