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Letters to the Editor

Compiled by Daily staff

Why Vail’s specialThank you, Andy Wiessner, for your insightful commentary on Crossroads on June 26. Our comments are consistent with your informative essay. In our view, the first distinction to make is the disparity between the developer’s motivations and the community’s interests. The developer’s objective is to maximize financial gain, which is a short term, personal goal. The voter’s interest is the current and future quality of life in Vail; this is what all of us who live here have a great stake in. The architecture of Vail’s constellation of buildings and associated infrastructure, and how that man-made artistry harmonizes with the natural grandeur of the mountainous landscape, determines the beauty, ambiance, and character of our shared environment. This intangible public asset has great value to each of us; rich or poor, resident or visitor. The centerline of this artistry runs along Gore Creek, from Vail Golf Course to Lionshead, and “downtown” Vail Village is the cultural centerpiece. Since Crossroads is integral to this cultural hub, it obviously should be developed to enhance the splendid aesthetics and ambiance of the village. This issue is owned by the voters of Vail, not by the developer or other individuals or groups. Mr. Wiessner points out that the proposed Crossroads will have seven roofline peaks over the length of a football field, with heights running from 86 feet to 110 feet (viewed from Gore Creek). The proposed structure is conspicuously quantitatively wrong – too tall, massive, and overbearing. In turn it is qualitatively wrong – totally at odds with the charm and grace that one now feels over most of the town of Vail.The developer is quoted as saying, in effect: “I will not make it smaller, because I do not have to.” The logical implication is that if he does not get his way, he will withdraw his interest in developing Crossroads. This might be an effective way for the developer to negotiate if the town urgently needed Crossroads redeveloped, but such is not the case. An advantage the public sector has when it deals with private parties is that public interests are long-term, while private actions take place over shorter time frames. On the financial side, the Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau endorsed Crossroads with the observation that sales taxes associated with that land parcel would increase 750 percent (and there would be financial gains for some other financial stakeholders). While it is important for developments to be financially viable (Crossroads certainly has that going for it for its short-term players), the financial strength of the town is not dependent upon any specific development (other than Vail Mountain), or on the timing of such developments. For the town, development is a long-term strategic issue, and it should advance the quality of life both culturally and socioeconomically. In general, growth for growth’s sake is fallacious strategy, especially for government entities that often get drawn into this simplistic, short-sighted paradigm from the private sector. In view of the generally pleasing human scale of Vail Village in its majestic mountain setting, a massive, overbearing redevelopment of Crossroads undermines a salient strategic advantage that helps define Vail. This may not be of much interest the developer, but it is very important to the rest of us – and to visitors as well. The compelling consideration for the July 11 vote is that a massive, over-imposing, wrongful development of Crossroads will permanently undermine the very favorable character of, and future prospects for, the qualities that make Vail Special. William M. and Norma Brown Build new CrossroadsThere has not been an issue that has received more ink in the past few months than the construction or the non-construction of the Crossroads project. Some of the negative arguments have had merit, as well as some of the positive opinions expressed in your publication. A letter in the June 26 issue was as well written as any I have seen and I agree with much that was said. In most of the arguments, pro or con, the overriding issue has been the height of the project. On this issue I doubt that opinions will be changed by any argument, but it alone should not be the deciding factor in reaching a final decision. The impact upon the community as a whole is too great.Obviously, under the existing circumstances, that decision will be decided by a vote of the Vail community. I do not reside in Vail. Therefore, I am not a legal member of the community. However, living in Edwards does not preclude me or my neighbors from being interested in or caring about the happenings, current and future, of Vail. When asked by others where I live, invariably I respond with “Vail, Colorado” or “in the Vail Valley of Colorado.” I am not ashamed of living in Edwards, but unlike New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Aspen or Vail, it is not a name that is quickly recognized by others. I cannot imagine an average family in Cleveland planning a vacation trip to Edwards, Colorado.This Crossroads has become a valleywide subject of debate, and views regarding same are certainly not isolated to residents of Vail alone. Yes, I know we cannot vote, but I do believe we will be equally affected by the development and its eventual outcome. We will, after all, be expected to participate in its operation, shop in its stores, bowl in its alleys, park in its spaces and bring our visitors to gaze, graze and spend as well as will the local populace.To this end, I believe our opinions, collectively and individually, are of value to the argument at large. Like most in the valley, I have read and heard just about every argument, pro and con, that has so far surfaced. I read the numbers you have printed, but they are certainly not conclusive regarding either side. Anyone who has lived here for a reasonable length of time knows that “something” must be done about this very high profile piece of landscape. As for personal credentials, my wife and I have been full-time residents here for 21 years, and part time since 1966. We have lived in Vail (Lionshead) since 1970 and in our current home in Edwards since 1985. We have witnessed, or taken part in just about every crisis concerning our valley that has arisen and there have been quite a few. Like just about any community in our country, the Vail area is quite diverse and in many ways is still in the throes of growing pains. What does Vail want to be when it grows up? Many viewpoints abound.Years ago there was a man who lived in Vail, and I was fortunate enough to know him well and count him as a dear friend. He lived in and he loved Vail dearly. His was a voice heard often in dissent and in praise, as well, of this rapidly developing community. To some he was the voice of reason when all around us bordered on chaos and to others he was just a rabble rouser, a genuine pain in the … . His name was Al Weiss and he was an intelligent, caring man whose number one priority was his town: Vail, Colorado, USA. He would have had a field day with the Crossroads issue. His voice would have resonated with a simple, straightforward and intelligent response to all the ongoing arguments: “If it is good for the town, build it; if it is an improvement over what we have, build it; if it makes us better than we are today, build it!” The Weiss philosophy: “straightforward and honest.”Today, there are other voices of assent and of dissent, naysayers and their ilk, some bent upon opposition to change of almost any kind, some deeply engrossed in the more personal “what’s in it for me” philosophy and others, with blinders, refusing to see Vail, Colorado, USA, become part of the real world. We seem to have more new construction in Vail now than there was in post World War II London. Like much of that bombed-out city, Crossroads as it now stands, is an eyesore, long past its prime or even its usefulness as a “visit of choice” within the community. In the early years my wife and I attended the movie theater, shopped in the market, visited the galleries and (remember?) the department store. We have not been a visitor there in years. It not only has antiquated into potential oblivion, it can no longer compete with all that has grown or is in the process of growing around it. The argument about height is ridiculous. What is being blocked that is not now blocked? From whom is it being blocked? My wife and I stood on the Frontage Road, north of the proposed construction, and I’ll be damned if there was any chance that the new construction would endanger any view of value. I believe there are personal issues here – egos have been bent – and the real issue of benefit to the community has been trashed as this “vendetta” continues. No, I do not know Peter Knobel, have never met the man, probably never will. Yes, he will make a lot of money and I wish I were going to, also, but I will only benefit to the same extent as everyone else in this growing, diverse place. It will be better with the new Crossroads than it is today. Can the project be even better with additional changes? Perhaps. But where do we stop the changes? I haven’t seen any that will be a significant improvement to what has already been presented. So, to paraphrase my old friend Al: “Build it!”I cannot vote on this issue, but I feel as deeply as any Vail resident. I believe that all the “community” feels this issue but it is becoming polarized without cause. The current plan is not an eyesore and does not impact negatively upon the town. It is not a deterrent to mountain views and is most definitely not an issue for private animosities to determine.Now, how about an 85-passenger tram and an opera house like Central City and, most of all, a Red Lobster?Of course, this is only one man’s opinion. Thank you for your patience.Alan M. AaronsEdwardsWrong opinion!I have to say congratulations, Don Rogers, for your expert ability to cover one side of the story on a regular basis. The Crossroads coverage was so one-sided, the only time we heard from the opposition was when they bought ad space in your paper. You certainly did not give them equal print coverage between yourself and Kaye Ferry.An important value of true journalistic integrity is covering all sides of the issues. At times the Vail Daily seems to only appreciate one opinion, their own. Would it be to much to ask you to fairly and concisely cover stories from a more objective, neutral position? Allow your readers to digest the information on their own without being coerced by your slanted coverage. Just give us the facts, please. …Reid PhillipsEditor’s note: Ferry and Rogers, who seldom agree on anything, both write in the commentary section of the paper, a forum for opinion open to everyone, pro or con. Leave it to CaesarI carefully read the full article “Evolution a worldview, not science.” The very first sentence almost kept me from even bothering to read the rest. Dr. Branden writes, “Recall the first big question of any worldview: Where did we come from?” Actually I would think this would be the second question. The first question has to be “Did we come from somewhere?” The other version of the same theme is, “What is the meaning of life?” That automatically assumes that life has a meaning.These questions always come down to the same thing, faith or science. While I admit that I would bet my money on science, I continue to wager my soul on faith, which is a variation of “unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” I know that none of this clarifies anything, but my guess is this is exactly the way it should be. Doug BitettoGreatly appreciatedOn behalf of the staff at the Shaw Regional Cancer Center, I want to publicly thank Christina L. for bringing food every week for the patients. Christina’s father receives chemotherapy every week on Thursdays in a distant state. She is unable to be there for him every week. I personally know how frustrating that feeling can be. To fill her need to help, she demonstrates her love for her father by bringing local cancer patients the nourishment that she wants to give her father. Every single Thursday for months we try to thank her, but every single person here feels that our thanks are too small for the size of her generosity. Christina, please know that you are greatly appreciated by one and all.Andy BallShaw Regional Cancer CenterVail, Colorado


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