Vail Daily letter: Housing solutions
July 8, 2016
Vail was an audacious idea from the start. The same boldness needs to be applied to the ongoing issue of housing. We've had new, if not audacious, ideas floating around that need to be expanded with enough substance to be discussed. Bring in the folks who suggested them. The mindset needs to be without the limitation of cost.
• A 3,000-bed facility over I-70: Consider where it would go now that we will have a new underpass. It can't be that crazy if it's been looked at in the past but dismissed because of cost.
• Dormitories on the mountain: Ski-in/ski-out ultimate lodging for young folks, whether working for Vail Resorts or off-mountain, town-located small businesses.
• High-rise lodging similar to Chamonix on town property: No limit of locations, such as on sites currently built on — Timber Ridge, town administration, adjacent Forest Service land (now more possible than ever with the precedent of Summit County's direct purchase of land).
• Forest Service land at Dowd Junction and beyond. Couple this potential with super high-end bus service, including dial-a-ride 22-passenger service during the off-hours.
Yes, ultimately cost does come into play. If things are characterized and marketed right, a combination of public and private funding will happen. Consider the potential of financial support via "naming rights" of a "beds serving Vail" workforce housing complex — noting the National Park Service is considering accepting corporate money for naming rights of buildings within its locations.
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As everyone knows, Vail to our destination guests is both the mountain and the expanding myriad of off-mountain, town-located services. So its probably time for Vail Resorts to change from its arm's length involvement with the town of Vail paradigm to a new, more cooperative paradigm in many areas including housing and parking for starters. Who knows, we might even have "Vail like nothing on earth, mountain and town working (together) to exceed expectations." That would speak volumes.
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