Letters to the editor | VailDaily.com

Letters to the editor

Amy Gornikiewicz

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Verbatim Booksellers after a long absence. Why the absence? Since moving to its new location I have been unable to locate the store. I sincerely hope the Town Council will approve a variance allowing the placement of a tasteful hanging sign on East Meadow Drive directing people to the bookstore.It is in the Town’s best interest to encourage visitors and locals alike to spend their dollars in Vail. Unfortunately, it is much easier to direct people to the Bookworm in Edwards than it is to direct them to Verbatim Booksellers. Robert Aikens and his staff provide quality service in a friendly and professional way. Verbatim has contributed greatly to not only Vail but also the entire valley. Big boxes, the likes of Borders and Barnes and Noble, are replacing nationwide independent bookstores. It would be shameful for the Town of Vail to not do everything possible to ensure Verbatim is a lasting presence in the Eagle Valley.Amy GornikiewiczEagleWorse than diseaseAs asphalt creeps up Vail Mountain just west of the Vista Bahn, notice brand new paved temporary truck parking bays soon to be replaced if Vail Resorts Front Door design is built by a massive underground 14-bay truck depot with ingress and egress for much of Vail Village’s loading and delivery smack in the middle of pedestrians-skiers. Sometimes the cure (commercial construction on Vail Mountain) is worse than the disease (getting trucks off village streets), especially when reasonable alternatives are available. Aren’t frontage roads and transportation centers adjacent to freeways designed for this purpose? Andrew LittmanVailDo need prudenceRegarding Don Roger’s editorial in the June 25 Daily concerning Vail’s conference center, it just might be worthwhile to peel the onion to provide additional perspective. I was the person who took the time to caution the Vail Town Council about “fast pathing” A PORTION of the conference center project.(1) IT’S NOT ABOUT BEING ANTI-CONFERENCE CENTER: The Vail voters decided in November 2002 to have a conference center – financing the project with a lodging tax and additional general sales tax that all retail and restaurant consumers within the town of Vail pay. Since the voters have spoken, it would be difficult for the Vail Council not to move ahead with the project in some form. Remember the massive turnout of 1,658 folks casting their ballot? The fact that the ballot measure barely passed in November 2002 is immaterial in our democratic form of government – but over 1,600 voters is highly significant.(2) FAST PATHING? It has taken from November 2002 to late spring (18 months) to get to the point of having a finalized feasibility study – i.e. business case and a set of requirements. This was careful work, a continuum, including open to the pubic committee meetings and at least one, low profile presentation at council. Now, from June 1, the town is allocating a little over six months to: solicit/select a design team – including one high profile public meeting on 7/7 focusing on this process, solicit/select a soils survey team regarding site placement capability, “communicate” with adjacent homeowners, perform general design, go through town design/zoning hurdles, solicit/select a general contractor, and come up with enough price certainty to start down the road of issuing debt! The concern is trying to do a long list of things in a six-month period, perhaps in an effort to make up for the 18 months taken to do the feasibility study. One might call this six-month period a “fast path.”Some observers have said that if the time line appears to be too tight, simply push the deadlines back as you go along. It may not be that simple. Frequently, in an effort to be bold – transparency is lost, important things fall between the cracks and the final costs escalate. (3) A MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Given that over 1,600 folks expressed their interest in this project at the ballot box, it would have been appropriate if the work product of the feasibility study could have been released with some fanfare as a major milestone and checkpoint. This might have included a formal press release and highly publicized, public-oriented, special presentation with Q&A. The presentation could have provided transparency by disclosing the various financial/capacity options and trade-offs that were considered, coupled with the statement of requirements.If all this sounds like nonsense, consider the Donovan Park Pavilion project, in which the requirements included the term “world class.” This one term caused the design team to go off on a tangent to design a structure befitting of winning a national architectural award. Had the requirements first gone through a rigorous community review, the associated expenses and delay of producing a design that few people wanted might have been avoided. This caused starting over. Due to this action, the council’s previous agreement to pursue a certification for building “green” (LEED) fell between the cracks. This is a real world example of the cascading effects when you short cut a process by not utilizing the talents within the local community. It requires publicity, takes time, maybe requires refreshments, but its all about contemporary local government.Therefore, we need substantive public interaction in this upcoming six-month period – hence another reason it may be fast pathed?In summary, the majority of us want to see the conference center as a vital link in a revitalized Vail – and a few of us are just outspoken in the quest of doing it right. It appears the term “fast path” has been picked up by the council since my remarks, so perhaps the caution has already taken hold. In any case, come out for the public meeting at 5:30 on July 7 at the Donovan Park Pavilion for an update on the process. With the second-home owners in town, we should have hundreds over the 1,600 interested voters in attendance!Paul RondeauVailFallen for a gimmickIt seems that all of Vail Valley has fallen for the cheapest form of advertisement in the world, “controversy.” Whether it’s a giant flagpole in Eagle-Vail or a breast at the Super Bowl, it works every time. So now that all of Colorado knows of this purple pole they must know of the stores below it, works like a charm.I have come up with a suggestion: Let’s all gather at the purple pole and watch the gigantic American flag go up, put our hands on our hearts and thank every soldier fighting for our right to do so, then the flag comes down and hangs on the interior wall of one of those stores. The pole itself would be donated to the new Iraqi government for their flag. Thus the publicity of the pole would continue, as would the free advertisement. As for the flag, we could all meet every day with Magnus to say the Pledge of Allegiance to show our “patriotism.” So whether it is “patriotism,” “advertisement” or just plain arrogance, it has done its job quite well, even without the flag. So to Mr. Lindholm I would just like to say, God bless us all and love they neighbor as themselves.Mark EdwardsNeed a signI am writing in support of the sign variance requested by Verbatim Booksellers.Besides unique “one-of-a-kind” shops, a charming bookstore like Verbatim is one of the things that brings locals and guests to town. We need to do everything we can to make the business environment positive for these hardworking folks. It is always fun to discover a small, interesting shop in a back alley, but how good is it for the shop? Survival of these businesses depends on good foot traffic. But when the business is not located on one of the main streets, good signage becomes essential.Robert Aikens is a good citizen of Vail and Verbatim is a definite asset. Robert will design a tasteful sign that will increase interest in the entire neighborhood. Please do everything you can to promote his success.Jane HartI love rainTo those of you I have overheard complaining about the rain as I run in and out of the post office and the other business I frequent on a daily basis, I invite you to spend some time in drought stricken southwestern Colorado. My family and friends in Durango would welcome this rain with open arms and would be happy with half of the precipitation we have received here this past week.The shoe could be on the other foot!Colleen Byrd