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Letters to the editor

Stan Zemler

The town of Vail, in partnership with the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District, has completed another important phase of streetscape and utility work in Vail Village. After 10 critical weeks of digging, installing new utility infrastructure and preparing the Village for additional amenities, we’re now stepping aside for the remainder of the season to ensure that our residents and summer guests have a great experience. We recognize these construction projects have created challenges for those doing business in the impacted areas and we want to thank everyone for their patience and cooperation. In particular, we wish to thank the volunteer members of our construction mitigation task force who have been meeting regularly to share their suggestions and ideas: Bob Boselli, Nicole Hoffman-Ewing, Christian Knapp, Rayla Kundolf, Rob LeVine, Steve Rosenthal, Rick Scalpello, Pam Stenmark, Richard tenBraak, Joe Walker and Paul Witt. These individuals have not only provided timely suggestions to help minimize the construction impacts, they’ve also challenged the town to re-evaluate some of its construction policies on an ongoing basis. Thanks, also to construction coordinators Scott Bluhm, Leonard Sandoval, George Chalberg, Dirk Etheridge and Jim Boyd, who have done an exceptional job in working with the contractors and businesses to schedule staging, deliveries, events and other activities while keeping projects moving forward in a safe and efficient manner. With the streetscape work, the Village is becoming a centerpiece of Vail’s revitalization. Already, the flowers are bursting with color, cobbled pavers are winding their way up Bridge Street, the newly renovated Children’s Fountain is coming alive and a new pocket park is adding additional green space to the area, all amidst a backdrop of alpine-inspired lodging, residential and commercial redevelopments which will be completed later in the year. In Lionshead, Vail Resorts Development Company is progressing with construction of The Arrabelle at Vail Square, which will open in late 2007. The company is addressing the needs of neighboring businesses by helping to provide outdoor entertainment, greeters and an outdoor children’s construction museum to help main tain Lionshead’s vitality while the construction continues. In both instances, the key to Vail’s success has been the cooperation by those involved and the sense of pride we have in the work that we’re doing. I encourage everyone to stop by and enjoy the sights and sounds of Vail this summer and to join me in acknowledging the continued partnerships and cooperation it is taking to get the job done. Stan Zemler Vail Town ManagerLarger realitiesThere has recently been a series of articles and commentaries on the appropriateness of removing Alberto Vilar’s name from the Ford Amphitheater. Amidst the controversy over this issue, it is important that the Vail community not lose sight of the larger realities represented by the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.First of all, the Ford Amphitheater is a magnificent facility that serves as the social and cultural hub of the entire Vail Valley in the summertime. Since it was first built in 1987, the amphitheater has provided the venue for an ever-growing menu of cultural and artistic performances, from classical music to rock concerts, from ballet to hip hop. The complete reconstruction that was completed four years ago transformed the Ford Amphitheater into one of the best facilities of its kind in the country, sufficient to attract, among others, the incomparable New York Philharmonic for a summer residency in Vail. The variety and quality of the programming provided and the sheer beauty of the Ford Amphitheater represent the reasons that many residents and visitors now come to Vail in the summertime. This in turn provides much of the commercial vitality to the community.The second larger reality of the Ford Amphitheater is that its initial construction in 1987, its remodel in 1992-93 and its total reconstruction in 2001 were virtually all paid for by private donations. The generosity of these donors contributed this marvelous facility, with a current replacement value in excess of $15 million, for the benefit of the entire community. A total of $10.7 million in pledges was received from nearly 500 donors, to support the most recent reconstruction, including a pledge of $3.5 million from Alberto Vilar. The fundraising effort was a truly uplifting experience reflecting generosi ty at its best. Virtually every person who was solicited for a donation responded positively, often at a level beyond expectations. With the exception of Alberto Vilar’s commitment, every dollar pledged was paid on time, and all indications suggest that Mr. Vilar would have met his commitment if he had been able to do so.There were many examples of the philanthropic spirit that surrounded this project. One that captured this spirit occurred on the day of the dedication of the newly finished amphitheater in July 2001. Two hours before the dedication, a presentation of the reconstruction project and its rationale was made to a prospective donor couple in the hope that they would consider a gift. With barely enough time to change for the dedication, the couple rushed to arrive early, in order to declare their pledge of $300,000 to the effort. They had made a special effort to accelerate their decision and stretch their commitment in order that the community could celebrate not only the reopening of the amphitheater, but the achievement of the fundraising goal at the dedication. The outpouring of private donations toward this project of civic betterment is a hallmark example of the American tradition of private philanthropy toward commitment needs.As Vail embarks on another summer full of rich cultural offerings at the Ford Amphitheater, there are issues of how to deal with Mr. Vilar’s name and how to replace the funding from his incomplete commitment. However, the greater reality is the beautiful presence and availability of the Ford Amphitheater, and the generosity and community support which made it possible.Oscar L. TangVailCrossroadsIn 1954, just back from Lausanne, Switzerland, Peter told me he wanted to build the biggest ski area in the world and that the United States was 15 years behind Europe in ski development. Naturally, as a diplomat he would blithely temper his words to his audience – you want Zurs, we’ll have Zurs. You want St. Moritz, we’ll have St. Moritz.At our first symposium, the eminent Belgian biologist Andre du Bop told a story of a sunny morning stroll in Manhattan in which he marveled at how man cooperated to live so beautifully on a small island. His message to us was to live beautifully together in growth because an organism that doesn’t grow perishes.Somewhere along the line I was told that the hotel/resort consultants Hovarth & Hovarth stressed the importance of a balance in beds and public space in Vail, a balance between the size of the mountain and the size of the village, a balance between acres of skiing, lifts and beds and amenities at the bottom. The size of Vail was decided by the size of the Forest Service lease originally, years ago.As a grandmother, I’m all for skating, rinks, movies, bowling alleys and ice cream stores to keep Mayer, Anna, Lizzie, Tony and Petey entertained so they don’t get into mischief.P.S.: The quality of Vail flowers and cobbled streets, places to park, and bus systems from downvalley delight me no end, and I’m sure the Crossroads project will be resolved to enhance the ambiance of the village.Betty SeibertTime for changeOur president got us into the war in Iraq based on lies, and manipulated information. He sent our troops in ill prepared, ill equipped, and without a plan. Two years and 1,700 deaths of brave U.S. soldiers later, he has created a hotbed of terrorist activity where none existed before. He has no plan, but plenty of rhetoric. It’s time to just say no to his dangerous and destructive policies. It’s time for all of us to hold our president accountable for his actions and demand a change!Robert VoglVailVail, Colorado


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