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:       VVHA Status Report - Vail Recreation District/Town of Vail Recreation Master Planning.

Vail Recreation District/Town of Vail Recreation Master Planning:  A joint study by the TOV/VRD reporting on the communityís recreational desires was recently published.  The study consisted of a community mail back survey and focus group interviews.  The report yielded some very interesting findings.  A significant gap was revealed between the perceptions and goals of the Town of Vail to satisfy local voters and the constituencies of the VRD, which include large numbers of Colorado part-time residents.  The Homeowners Association is concerned from the perspective encouraging facilities that serve our constituencies and the making of prudent public financial decisions.  

Particularly targeted by the survey Local employees living in the Town of Vail-sponsored affordable housing projects.  They showed an extraordinary indifference by responding in negligible numbers to the mail-back survey, which the Town had gone to the unusual extent of hanging on their apartment doorknobs.  

The Association noted in a joint public meeting of the governing bodies that the survey was heavily weighted towards local residents.  It observed if the survey had accurately represented the VRDís voting part-time residents, the negative sentiment against funding recreational projects through a property tax increase would be overwhelming.  An increase in property tax would require the VRD to gain approval from local and Colorado part-time property-owning voters. 

The Town Council, in an earlier work session discussion, considered its option to bond $40 to $45 million for one or more recreation buildings from the Real Estate Transfer Tax Fund (RETT).  The Town Council could authorize such expenditures from the RETT Fund without a vote of the electorate.  The TOV has, for political and others reasons, never spent RETT funds for building recreation buildings even though the RETT legislation was amended some years ago opening the opportunity. 

There were suggestions in the Town Councilís deliberation that RETT should be used to build a multi-purpose recreational facility that included a swimming pool as part of contemplated redevelopment of the Vail Golf Club House.  With the exception of a swimming pool, no other uses considered for this project, received strong recommendation in the community survey.    

The Association suggested to both the Town Council and the VRD Board of Directors that prior to spending any money for costly facilities that a comprehensive master plan, which receives broad community input and scrutiny, be prepared based upon a set of planning principles.  The necessity of adopting a set of pragmatic planning principles was suggested as a method of breaking the failure cycle of financially top-heavy projects designed to serve narrow special interest groups previously rejected by the community.  The Association suggested in a prior session with representatives of the VRD that the master planning process should include the following principles:

1.      Facilities and programs should be maintained and integrated into all community neighborhoods.

2.      A range of alternative facilities and programs are to be proposed for each neighborhood to take advantage of opportunities as they may arise, including incorporating them into private developments at the developerís expense.

3.      Facilities and programs are to be given budgetary and utilization priority that directly benefits the greatest number and aggregate of both community (District) taxpayers and residents followed by short-term visitors, user fee constituent groups and other types of economic development interests.

4.      Large and expensive mixed-use facilities, proposed to be all things to all constituencies, should be given a lower priority for consideration. 

5.      Portions of Town owned land north of I-70 should be interconnected and integrated with Ford Park, thus allowing compatible recreation, education, cultural, infrastructure uses and facilities to be expanded. 

6.      Facilities and programs are to be balanced so that they provide for the needs of all ages and stages of life represented in the community.

7.      The District will participate with community cultural, educational, and social improvement interests in a comprehensive and coordinated effort to improve the physical, social, and intellectual well being of the community and District taxpayers.  

Vail Seniors Have The Beginnings of an Activist Agenda: Gretta Parks and a group of her associates, at the suggestion of the Homeowners Association, met recently with the representatives of the VRD to discuss the needs of seniors in the community.  The discussion could well lead to an increase in programs for seniors being initiated by the VRD.  Should more seniors join in this effort to request programs tailored to their needs, there could well be a ripple effect through other service institutions, which may come to recognize their responsibility to serve the growing senior population in Vail and the surrounding region.  Mrs. Parks is a founding director of the Homeowners Association.   She is also pursuing efforts that would provide for electric scooters and carts to be available at key locations, such as at the communityís transportation centers, for those who have challenges accessing businesses and facilities in Vail Village and Lionshead.