Vail Daily column: Moving Vail forward
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association newsletter. The association keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the Vail community. The electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at http://www.vailhomeowners.com.
If managed right, a civic/cultural center could propel Vail forward much like the Billion Dollar Renaissance of the 2000s, which saw major infrastructure improvements like heated streets and art in public places. But it needs to be a community asset decided upon by consensus, not just an amenity for the business community to “sell” to its customers. Community support is vital so that it does not become another divisive issue that could further tear at the cohesiveness of the community.
Because of past debacles, voters are skeptical and not particularly willing to devote community resources to build or maintain commercial projects. There could, however, be support for a true community asset that would increase cultural opportunities for all of the Vail community. For example, the Dobson Ice Arena was originally designed with an acoustically perfect ceiling in anticipation of use for a variety of entertainment events. Unfortunately, its functionality was limited by fire code requirements for ingress and egress, but that is a problem that could be remedied. Whether the coming town leadership will have the vision to plan, advocate and convince the community that this is a worthwhile venture remains to be seen.
If there is a proposal for tax funding for a civic/cultural center, then it will be incumbent on Vail leaders to bring all stakeholders into the discussion and reach consensus. There could well be agreement that such a proposal is in the best interest of the entire community, but to get to that point will require vision and leadership. Failing that would doom any such proposition.
A community civic/cultural facility is just one of several major projects that should be on the town’s agenda. Solving the parking crisis and cleaning up Gore Creek are two of the others. These are essential to promote sustainable tourism and should not be seen as mutually exclusive. Given the town’s healthy financial situation, none of these projects should be necessarily undertaken to the exclusion of others. The challenge to the town’s leadership is to find the way to move Vail forward in a way that enhances the community for the benefit of all.