What progress looks like
Vail’s current fantasy of “progress” has run straight into the brick wall of Vail’s current reality (“Some small Vail shops hurting” 3/23/06). While there has been much propaganda about the $1 billion renewal, it is time for an open and serious debate about what all of this will mean.
Rather than the trivial banter that passes for discussion among the purported representatives of the fictitious “New Guard,” what is wanted is some serious thought about what Vail will look like when the bulldozers have been taken away and the dust settles.
At present, the direction in which Vail is headed puts us in the same predicament as Beaver Creek, with expensive real estate no one who lives in Eagle County can afford; expensive hotel rooms the middle class can’t afford; terrific retail business at Christmas, March and during the summer concert season and “deadsville” the rest of the year. Anyone – waiter, dishwasher, front desk or retail clerk or small business owner – who has worked their butt off just to make ends meet here can tell you that Vail can’t possibly survive on eight weeks of business per year.
Progress is not merely knocking over old buildings and replacing them with bigger ones. Progress would mean taking this $1 billion renewal and using it to correct Vail’s failings and build on its successes. Progress would mean building a Vail in which the people who work here could afford to make a life here, not merely get by. Progress would mean establishing a business climate in which small businesses thrive and young entrepreneurs take risks on opening new ones, rather than being left to wither and die. Progress would mean ensuring that the middle class, our key market, can still afford to come here. Progress would mean making Vail, which is totally dependent on the environment for its livelihood, environmentally sustainable. Progress would mean making Vail a better place in which to live, visit and do business.
Rather than kowtowing to the latest batch of developers (yes, we HAVE seen all of this before) who have arrived to profit on Vail’s success while telling us everything Vail’s done wrong for the past 40 years, the self-proclaimed representatives of the “New Guard” and the town staff should have a good look around. A lot’s been done wrong in Vail but a lot more has been done right. Nothing would serve better to screw Vail up completely than to continue in the direction we’re headed.
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