President - Alan Kosloff     Secretary - Ellie Caulkins    Treasurer - Patrick Gramm    Executive Director  -  Jim Lamont

Directors:  Judith Berkowitz  -  Dolph Bridgewater  -  Richard Conn  -  Gail Ellis  -  Ron Langley

Eugene Mercy  -  Bill Morton  -  Trygve Myhren  -  Gretta Parks  -  Emeritus: Bob Galvin


To:       VVHA Membership and Interested Parties

From:   Jim Lamont

Date:    August 21, 2006

RE:      Redevelopment of Lionshead Parking Structure Site (a.k.a. consolidated Vail Civic Center Site). 


Two development companies have qualified for consideration in the Town of Vail proposal to redevelop the Lionshead Parking Structure as a high density mixed used commercial and residential project.  The area being considered for the project will affect the status of the long-standing vision for the Vail Civic Center, which remains uncompleted.  


The vision for the Vail Civic Center is to provide facilities that would promote the physical, social, and economic health of the Vail community by bringing together its visitors, full and part-time residents, through the pursuit of sport, culture, recreation and education.  It is to be the vibrant heart and soul of the Vail resort community. 


The specifications of the Town’s development program for the project do not appear to be a settled matter with some community interests.  The Vail Recreation District (VRD) is raising programming and related issues with the Vail Town Council.   The VRD from the onset of the Vail Civic Center project was to have a central role in its planning and operation. 


The Vail Civic Center began in the early 1970’s on land acquired by the Town of Vail to provide both public parking and amenities for the community.  The Vail Civic Center consolidated site includes the location of the Lionshead Parking Structure and Transportation Center, the Charter Bus Parking Lot, Dobson Arena, Vail Public Library and a parking lot adjacent to the Vail Medical Center.  


The planning that is to ensue perhaps should be focused on gaining a balance between both public and private facilities.  A more detailed evaluation of the development program may open the opportunity for a variety of creative public/private amenities to be considered.  The upgrading of existing facilities, such as the Dobson Arena, will most likely also be considered as part of the redevelopment.   Project planning should also take into consideration ongoing efforts of surrounding neighbors to upgrade or preserve the qualities of their properties.


Priority should be given to the planning and design of the traffic circulation and public transportation systems that will serve the site.  The traffic circulation on the adjacent South Frontage Road has been, for other schemes proposed for the consolidated site, compromised in favor of over-development rather than the efficient flow of traffic on the community’s most important thoroughfare.   There are public funding sources, in addition to the value of the included public land, which can be applied towards enhanced public infrastructure and amenities


It is observed that should a design competition be held between the two finalists (rather than award the project to one firm prematurely), the result could put greater emphasis on appropriate infrastructure and the inclusion of other public amenities in addition to those currently being suggested, such as a conference center.   The public participation process for the project has yet to be articulated.  It would be unfortunate and divisive for the community should public officials decide, behind closed doors, important aspects of development proposals that would otherwise have been shaped by legitimate public participation and debate.


It is recommended that the Association reserve arriving at conclusions regarding the merits of the project, until such time as a definitive proposal is forthcoming.  Concerns are being raised that continuing the unrelenting redevelopment of Lionshead without a hiatus could have a detrimental effect.  Some are of the opinion that prolonging the planning process for the civic center site has its advantages. 


Vail Resorts, Inc. (VRI), through prior legal agreement with the Town of Vail, retains approval over what is built on the Lionshead Parking Structure Site.  The land was given by VRI to the Town of Vail with the stipulation that the site be used for public parking.  Any other use must be approved by VRI or the site reverts to its ownership.