Vail Daily letter: ‘No’ on Skier Building
The Skier Building and the town of Avon’s logic for its purchase baffle me. I will be voting “no” on the ballot and urge others to vote in the same fashion.
I agree with Don Rogers’ multiple columns on the Skier Building, mainly the assessment of value. A key point he makes, which the town routinely glosses over, is the lack of parking attached to the purchase. Parking is key to successful commercial real estate in the valley. By not including parking in the purchase of the Skier Building the town is severely limiting future value and resale of the building/property. It may have to give away town-owned parking spaces in the future to allow the building to function for private businesses. The shortsightedness of this purchase will prove to be a burden on future councils. The town states it will utilize existing parking at the Rec Center and library to meet its needs. My question is where will the people using those facilities park when town staff and customers of town hall fill up the lots?
The town also discusses ad nauseam the purchase being in line with the “West Town Plan.” When reading the plan you will understand it is not in line with the plan. The “new” Town Hall was envisioned to be located on town-owned property where the Avon Library sits, not the Skier Building. The “West Town Plan” also included a financial analysis and investment summary that was predicated on the Skier Building being commercial space. Even though it was based on pre-recession figures, changing its use from private property/commercial space to public property/government uses clearly changes all assumptions and validity of the investment plan.
The town also highlights how important the Skier Building is for a vitality of “West Town Center.” The current Town Hall is approximately one city block from the Skier Building. I cannot envision a scenario where people, not already patronizing establishments in the Seasons Building or Avon Center, will do so because they are now a block closer. The existing Town Hall has public restrooms and community spaces (Council Chambers) just like the new one will have, which the town continues to sell.
“No new taxes”? I have heard this argument for the Avon Rec Center, even though it could have been a slight tax increase, and the stage. The taxpayers were allowed to vote on one of the issues, while the other one spiraled out of control with costs three times the original budget. Does the town think so little of its taxpayers that the “no new taxes” argument will sell the project? I personally care a whole lot more about the makeup and financial stewardship of my town than the taxes I have to pay.
If the Skier Building is such a great idea, I would happily vote to raise my property taxes and purchase this building in a TABOR-supported way with the condition parking or at least an option for parking purchase upon resale is included.