Vail Daily column: Skier Building: You say mirage, I say vision |

Vail Daily column: Skier Building: You say mirage, I say vision

Brian Sipes
Valley Voices

Don (Rogers), your last column (Jan. 2) was a mirage of journalism. I know it is your job to drum up controversy and play it loose with the facts, but you are wrong on so many things that I just must respond.

• The building structure is absolutely fine. Shrinkage cracks are always present in concrete. That is why exposed slabs have grooves every so often. Concrete that is intended to be covered by some other finish doesn’t have these and so you get cracks. The floors of the Skier Building are composite slabs, which are made up of concrete on top of and bonded to metal decking. It is the two materials working together that provide the strength and the shrinkage cracks are inconsequential.

• The building is supplied with a 6-inch water main. In what universe is that too small? That pipe splits inside the building into a line that serves the fire sprinklers and another, metered line for the building uses. It may be true that the current meter is only 1.5 inches, but that is easily changed without any work outside the building.

• The building was inspected by Eagle Eye Home Inspections. Despite their name, 15 percent of their work is large commercial inspections. In our valley it is hard, if not impossible, to have a business devoted only to commercial inspections given the volume of residential inspections (and sales) that occur. They are completely qualified.

• Slow elevator? Is 12 seconds floor to floor slow? The elevator in the building is a very nice hydraulic Otis elevator and is of a very standard speed for this type and for nearly every office and even condo building in the valley. Also, there is a big trend in building design to encourage stair use. Elevators use a ton of power, so encouraging stairs not only saves energy but encourages healthy work environments. Visit Walking Mountains Science Center to see this design principle in person.

• Finally, all commercial spec core and shell office buildings are designed to meet the code minimum requirements because they do not know what their future tenants might want. Can you introduce me to developers who want to spend money freely and beyond what is required? Seriously, can you introduce me to them? They would make great clients!

Can we now dispense with the fear mongering? I didn’t mind your support of a vote to determine if COPs were an acceptable use of funds for this purchase, but now it appears that you and others have pivoted to an attack on the project itself using the worst scare tactics and straw men issues. Purchasing The Skier Building is a very good move for the town, and I hope that the voters again prove you wrong, my friend.

The people of Avon deserve to have their town hall on Main Street. This is not only good planning, it is very much needed and we have a good example of why just down valley.

Back in the early 2000s, Eagle chose to put their town hall on Broadway right in the middle of the business district. Many at the time thought this was a bad idea because it would take away too much retail space. (Sound familiar?) One of those people was the current town manager, Jon Stavney. We spoke today and he said he now thinks the opposite. Placing town hall right downtown reinforces the commitment the town has to the businesses and to the town. The people traffic is welcome and, in our case, may kick-start this part of downtown. His last point surprised even me. He said that he and his staff work for the town and every day they see how it is doing because of their location in the thick of things. He said it helps make the policy decisions real. I say amen!

Do you recognize this quote: “Fortune favors the bold”? You posted it on your Facebook page on New Year’s Eve and I couldn’t agree with you more! Time and time again Avon has faced vocal opposition when making bold moves. People said the roundabouts wouldn’t work, yet now almost everyone else has copied us. People said the rec center would be a huge waste of money. Many people also didn’t want the town to help fund the gondola. Were those bad decisions? Finally, one of the organizers of this referendum was very vocal against both The Westin itself and the sculptures in town, and you know how wrong he was about those, too. Time and time again our leaders have followed a vision of the future to the benefit of our town and despite the naysayers.

In order to be bold you must have vision for the future. The mirage you see, Don, is a displaced view of the status quo, and I believe the people of this town want and deserve much, much better.

Please vote “yes” for a new town hall where it belongs!

Brian Sipes was a member of the Avon Town Council from 2002-2010.

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