Slow down with center

Kaye Ferry
January 4, 2005

Every once in a while I need to do this catch-up thing. Lots of odds and ends got put aside during the conference center series, so here they are.

Before I move along, though, I'll say just a few more words on the conference center. I've had enormous feedback and that's good. Those who have called or e-mailed me have agreed that at the very least, the process should slow down. That is, of course, what I have encouraged.

What's most important, however, is that these columns have caused reflection on a topic that is nebulous at best. Things have changed since the original vote. What we thought was the site has changed. New conference centers are popping up all over, with the result of spaces being given away free in a very competitive market. The world itself has changed.

The need for artificial means of jump starting our economy isn't as urgent as it once was. And I could go on. The bottom line at this point is that it simply makes good sense to reassess the situation in light of those changes before we plunge head-first into what could very well be a financial disaster.

Maintaining the right to change our mind as a result of new information and a changing market place is not a sign of weakness. Quite to the contrary. It shows the strength necessary to make prudent decisions for the future of the town of Vail.

This is, after all, not a popularity contest but a serious job requiring the ability to sometimes make controversial decisions for the long-term best interest of the community.

I will continue to write until this is resolved. I have reams of more information and will work on the details of bringing Professor Sanders here to present, as Paul Harvey would say, the other side of the story.

By the way, at a meeting last week, one of the committee members-councilmen suggested putting the construction off for two-three years in order to accumulate more taxes as a cushion against losses. That's not very realistic. Construction costs will simply escalate during that time and eat up anything we've collected in the bank. If it doesn't make sense, it just doesn't make sense. No point in collecting more cash to be at the same point several years from now.

TSUNAMI VICTIMS: Thanks to Jebbie Brown's call to me last week, we got the ball rolling. Through the combined partnership of the Vail Chamber and Business Association and WestStar Bank, a fund has been established to provide assistance to the victims of the tsunami disaster.

All fees have been waived by the bank and all money collected will be sent directly to the American Red Cross for disbursement. Officials in that area have requested cash as the most expedient method for providing help to the affected areas.

Donations can be sent directly to WestStar Bank, 106 S. Frontage Road, or the Vail Chamber and Business Association, 241 S. Frontage Road. Make all checks payable to the VCBA/Tsunami Relief Fund. The VCBA can also take credit card donations. For information, please call 477-0075.

VAIL VALLEY DRIVE: What a mess. During Christmas week, the congestion surrounding the children's center area at Golden Peak was a nightmare. Traffic in general came to a standstill as families lined up to drop off and pick up their kids. Town of Vail buses ran 30 minutes late because they were also stuck as cars waited to turn into the lot and were parked on both sides of the road as well.

Something has to be done about this situation. Even though it only happens periodically each year, it is unacceptable. Police presence should be mandatory. Vail Resorts employees should not be the only ones out there directing traffic.

Thank goodness there has been serious improvement in the Ski Club Vail vicinity.

NEW SNOW: I was out a few weeks ago after a new snow fall. At the corner of Bridge and Gore, I paused to look at the beauty of this place. The things that postcards are made of. That's, of course, if I looked south toward the mountain. The snow was white and peaceful as it gently landed on the street and covered the landscape. Just what the travel brochures promise.

Unfortunately, I then looked north toward the covered bridge. As soon as the snow hit the ground, it melted, leaving barren streets that looked like mud season in the Rockies. Of course I immediately knew it wasn't, because in the spring my view isn't impaired by the steam rising from the ground.

What a shame. Why do we get so worked up over projects we're building that don't fit into our "theme" while we feel free to tamper with our greatest theme of all? We call is falling gold until it hits the ground. Then we call it an inconvenience and nuisance. Talk about screwy priorities.

GUESS WHAT? I got a call from Mary Kerst. Her family is opening the Everett Family Funeral Home and Crematory in Gypsum as early as February. To some it's a maudlin idea. To me it says we're getting real. In-patient hospice is next.

VAIL SQUARE: Do you know where that is? Lionshead was renamed while no one was looking. Oh, I know. It's meant to refer to the VR development but it's the first step toward getting rid of the Lionshead moniker.

Don't get me wrong. It's time for a change, but we could have talked about it.

Do your part: call them and write them. To contact the Town Council, call 479-1860, ext. 8, or e-mail towncouncil@vailgov.com. To contact Vail Resorts, call 476-5601 or e-mail vailinfo@vailresorts.com. For past columns, vaildaily.com-columnists or search:ferry.

Kaye Ferry is a longtime observer of Vail government. She writes a weekly column for the Daily.