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Letters to the Editor

Compiled by Daily staff

At the CrossroadsIt is with much regret and sorrow that we have made the decision to close down Scotch on the Rockies. We would like to thank all who have loved and supported the shop over the last 22 years!The Vail Town Council should be thankful that I had to work and arrived late to the last Crossroads vote. They were spared from my angry rants on how this hold up of an already approved project has caused us to liquidate instead of relocate. I was going to invite each council member to work a shift in our shop. Then they could have the opportunity to explain to our many loyal customers why a business that has had success in Vail since 1984 can no longer survive in Vail Village. Funny that no one from the council or tourism board have taken the time to ask my wife why.Peter Knobel and his staff have, more than once. Susan has worked incredibly hard, loves her shop and loves Vail Village. We would love to be part of Solaris. The time for redevelopment is now! Opponents of this project have been heard on several occasions and the project has been approved each time. Now the lack of movement forward is actually causing more damage than I believe they have intended. That is why we needed a strong, decisive council. If this goes to a ballot vote, I feel it renders the Town Council and its planning board irrelevant. How much respect can we have for a town government that allows arguments to be recycled for 20 months only so the voter can decide?Vail begins with the letter “V.” That’s the only reason it is still called a “village.” It sounds nice. However, Vail Village was sold to the highest bidder many times over before most of us arrived here. This quickly removed much of the true “village” character. This is a resort! An amazing one! A huge one! This is a resort with an incredible community of people who want to live, work, and play here. The ski mountain has expanded. The town must grow to provide the services and accommodations needed. Retail seems to be the redheaded stepchild of the Vail economy. No one seems to care that this part of Vail’s revenue engine is not working, as it has in the past.Our current situation with Scotch on the Rockies does not define Susan or myself. It does, however, define something seriously wrong with Vail Village. We can return bigger and better only if Vail can provide an atmosphere where we can make money. When doing business in Vail Village you battle many preconceived notions (too expensive, too hard to park, etc.) Now we must battle with the real notion of that Vail is a construction zone until 2009-10. I have heard more than one longtime local express a bizarre kind of pride when making a statement like, “I haven’t gone to Vail to do anything but ski in years.” This is a problem. The Shop & Hop in Eagle-Vail seems to be more of a center of a community than anywhere in Vail Village. The success of our closing down sale is actually a bit annoying. There is nothing wrong with our products, clientele, service or shop. People love our shop and are very sad to see us go. But we had to give customers a good reason (30-80 percent off) to push them to come into the village. That dynamic needs to change!I am very concerned that there is no future in Vail for the entrepreneurs that don’t have the millions to buy their chosen location. To this Vail local seeing Grandma Rock & Roll of Eagle Valley Music have to shut down is like a sign of the apocalypse. Will greed and ignorance ruin this wonderful place or will common sense prevail?The over-inflated real estate values in this valley cannot be reflected by landlords in lease and rental rates. There is no business sense to that. Chain stores should not be the only kinds of businesses that can pay Vail’s square-foot prices without having a truly metropolitan level of sales traffic. We need small business to flourish here because the one big business is moving down to Boulder. Only someone as passionate about Vail as me is willing to send an e-mail obnoxious enough to demand a 25-minute conversation with Rob Katz on Vail’s future. He called and spoke with me, which was more than Adam Aron was willing to do.If there is an old guard fighting the Crossroads project, then I guess I am part of the new guard. All we are hoping to guard against is not being able to afford to make a living here for our families. Making one building a wee bit taller than another should not be a political issue! Don’t make it one!What I would love to see is the community coming together – developers, landlords, the town government and Vail Resorts. Together they need to create a plan for the future. So when the construction phase comes to an end (if there is an end), Vail doesn’t end up looking like any old mall in America with some fancy Bavarian trim and a ski mountain behind it. We can make Vail bigger and better. We have to blow our guests away with unique and original amenities and fantastic retail experiences! Vail needs to stop shooting itself in the foot with each step it takes forward.It would appear that Mr. Knobel’s vision for Crossroads can only benefit all those who live and visit our beautiful valley.I believe that Peter Knobel and his staff have worked with us and will try to make any reasonable efforts to help small businesses in Crossroads to have a future in this prime Vail Village location. I just hope he won’t be showing his patriotism with a giant purple flagpole.Robb “Swimmer” Swimm


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