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Vail Daily letter: Outside the box

Municipal governments historically have been in the business of providing the basic services of police, fire, roads/parks, water/sanitation, and planning/zoning. The town of Vail (in conjunction with Eagle River Water and Sanitation) does this very well. But the town rightly is also heavily involved in economic development (with elements of quasi-private enterprise) through its direct sponsoring of events or contributing to events organized by others. But the town seems to be unable to meet the vocal needs of our in-town guests to have a “grocery store” within walking distance of hotels and condominiums.

How about the town taking out a long-term commercial lease to be occupied by a needed service provider? A “grocery store” is top of the list at the moment, but could be a shoemaker, astrologist or marijuana store down the line! A bid would go out to attract willing candidates to provide such a needed service with assurance of a predicable, partially subsidized rent. In the case of a “grocery store,” candidates might include a satellite of our two local supermarkets, Whole Foods or anybody else who could provide quality products and service.

If this notion has any merit, how could it happen? Its not clear how any idea from the public ever gets actioned upon. The town’s process seem to be collared with its rigid format of being agenda-driven at its twice per month meetings — including the age-old question of the council’s degree of sincerity in being interested in citizen input. As an example of a solution, it would seem the council could have many more retreat type sessions where new ideas can be freely discussed and where citizen working groups could be charged with a mission of fully exploring some outside-the-box or over-the-top notions. For those who have been in the valley for some years, we once had a proactive citizen input program called Vail Tomorrow. It was a massive undertaking and I am not suggesting we do this again, but doing something that would capture the spirit and intent of that program is overdue.

Paul Rondeau


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