West Vail park to be dedicated Saturday
West Vail’s popular new park and its special events pavilion will be officially dedicated Saturday to former Town Councilman John Donovan.
The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. in Donovan Park, on South Frontage Road in West Vail.
Donovan, who first arrived in Vail in 1962, was a member of the Vail Town Council from 1966 until 1980. He was a ski instructor and one of the first members of Vail Mountain’s trail crew, when the slopes were still groomed by side-stepping the steeper runs with skis.
With a friend, he opened one of the first businesses on Bridge Street, a deli. In 1966, he opened Donovan’s Copper Bar, which was a Vail Village landmark for 16 years. Vendetta’s bar and restaurant is now on the spot where the Copper Bar stood.
“As I have been told many times by friends and by strangers, my dad is just an amazing man with a good heart,” says Donovan’s daughter, Kerry. “As a community member and councilman, he did what was best for the town and its people. He has a passion for open space and recreation and he always gives and asks for little in return.”
Donovan now owns Vail Honeywagon, a waste-hauling company. He started the town’s clean-up day and was a staunch advocate of both open-space preservation and Vail’s free bus system.
In 1980, the Town Council purchased 51 acres of land in West Vail for $3.9 million and named it John F. Donovan Park. Most of the park will remain undeveloped open space.
The town has hired a private firm to manage the pavilion, the first public building to open in Vail since the library in 1982.