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What are we wishing for?

Vail Daily Editorial Board

Most people with opinions about the future of Vail will tell you Vail Resorts needs to “do more.”

On public policy issues from parking to housing to who knows what else, people seem to want a bigger contribution from the local resort company. That’s understandable. Vail Resorts is the biggest employer in the valley in the winter, and without it, this valley might have, oh, 20 percent of the population is now has. The company is also a major contributor to any number of local nonprofit groups, but that’s another story for another day.

While Vail Resorts does need to do more to help with Vail’s parking and housing shortages, we might want to think about just how much help we want from the resort company, and what strings might be attached.

Back when Vail needed a parking garage at Lionshead, the ski company ” then known as Vail Associates ” donated the land on the condition that it would retain the right to approve any new development on the property. The town council at the time willingly agreed to that condition.

A generation later, another company has struck a deal to tear down the old parking structure and replace it with a hotel, condos, shops, restaurants, and yes, more public parking.

With the deal done, Vail Resorts decided to exercise its right to refuse approval of the plan, at least until the company builds parking for its ow n EverVail project ” which includes a hotel, condos, shops, restaurants and parking.

We’re not going to argue with a valid contract, nor will we dispute that Vail Resorts has every right to look out for its own economic interests before concerning itself with what the town might want or need.

But the Lionshead parking structure ought to be a cautionary tale for those who would try to pry more out of the resort company.

We might get more parking, housing, or whatnot, but we need to make sure the inevitable strings attached to that help won’t hamstring future community needs.


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