Letters to the Editor | VailDaily.com

Letters to the Editor

Compiled by Vail Daily staff

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado COMissed opportunityI read with disappointment your articles concerning the demise and sale of the Ice Dome. I am disappointed because a huge amount of time, effort and taxpayer money was spent in bringing a second ice surface to the valley. People who used the Ice Dome raved about the quality of the ice (cold and firm), as well as its convenient free parking.There was even an adjacent restaurant in the golf course club house so skaters could eat or warm themselves up. Ideal? Apparently not. Here is the rest of the story.In September 2005, I heard that the Vail Recreation District (VRD) had chosen not to run the Ice Dome any longer because of operating deficits and that the town of Vail (TOV) was looking for a purchaser for the equipment. I approached Stan Zemler (town manager) about a proposal to keep the dome. Since it made no sense to have two competing ice surfaces a mile apart from one another, I proposed that I would take over the operation of the Ice Dome, if I could also operate Dobson. All I asked for was that the town would continue to put up and take down the bubble. The TOV had begun to use TOV firemen and other volunteers to put up the dome. Not only did they do it in record time, this group did it in a very cost efficient manner, incurring nowhere near the $175,000 cited in your article. In addition the town’s investment in the dome had grown greatly, as the golf course driving range site required substantial grading, concrete and electrical work to make the site suitable for an ice surface. I estimate those costs to be approximately $400,000 and when added to the $770,000 the TOV spent on the bubble and refrigeration equipment, the town had over a $1,100,000 investment in this project.Stan asked me to approach the VRD about my proposal, but time was of the essence because the dome was about to be sold. This puzzles me, as your article states that the equipment was just being delivered to Cranston, R.I. a year and two months later. What was the hurry anyway, with those dollars at stake?As for the VRD, they had stated publicly for years that Dobson was losing substantial money, so I thought taking a white elephant off their hands would make sense to everyone, most importantly the TOV taxpayers. I proposed to manage both facilities free of charge to them. Mike Ortiz, director of the VRD, appeared quite interested in the proposal and said he would speak with his board. Very quickly, the VRD board rejected my idea, giving no real reason other they are in charge of recreation in Vail.So as we wave goodbye to the Ice Dome, I hope everyone realizes that the skaters in the community lost a great facility, and the Vail taxpayers lost close to $1,000,000 ($770,000 equipment cost, plus $400,000 in improvements, less $225,000 sales price).My gripe is not with the town, as they tried to bring us another quality ice surface. It is with the VRD, who refused to run the dome or to consider other proposals to make it work. It’s a real shame!Phil HoverstenFavorite writerButch Mazzuca: Another great editorial. Truly, America has to come together to understand this threat and what can be done about it.As long as both sides within the U.S. shout accusations at each other without trying to find the common middle ground, we will be at a standstill.Once we have identified a common (even small) middle ground, we can identify where the differences are and work on them, constructively, to see how they might be bridged, brought to the common middle ground, or to have their assumptions tested.This is a leadership process that should be utilized.Anyway, well done, once again. You are my favorite writer.Robert Vanourek

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