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Received 12/3/99


(Vail)--Two high-profile planning projects have earned the Town of Vail top honors for innovation and citizen involvement emphasis. The Lionshead Redevelopment Plan has been named one of the state's best planning documents by the Colorado Chapter of the American Planning Association, while the Vail Tomorrow community visioning process has been named among the best in the nation by the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA).

Vail Town Manager Bob McLaurin says the 1999 awards recognize Vail's tradition of innovation as well as an active and interested citizenry. "I fundamentally believe that local problem solving works best when citizens share a responsibility for the community's health in partnership with government," he said. "That's what these two projects are all about and I'm pleased to see such recognition by our peers in local government. I hope everyone who participated in these projects feels a sense of pride and community accomplishment." Dominic Mauriello, chief of planning for the Town of Vail Community Development Department, served as project manager for the Lionshead Master Plan. Mauriello accepted the award on the town's behalf at an annual meeting of the state chapter of the American Planning Association last month in Breckenridge.

The Vail Tomorrow award was presented during a national conference of government officials last month in Portland, Ore. Suzanne Silverthorn, the town's community information officer and communications coordinator for Vail Tomorrow, was on hand to accept the award on the community's behalf.

The following are brief overviews of each of the projects, as well as judges' comments:

Lionshead Redevelopment Master Plan

The Lionshead Redevelopment Master Plan was approved unanimously by the Vail Town Council in 1998 and is considered to be the most significant community reinvestment milestone in recent history. More than two years in the making, the plan contains redevelopment incentives for aging properties within the 154-acre Lionshead area, plus architectural design controls and a list of recommended improvements.

Judges for the Colorado Chapter of the American Planning Association praised the project for its comprehensive nature and emphasis on public involvement.

The process included more than 40 public workshops, public hearings and other feedback opportunities that drew participation from more than 1,000 people--many of them second homeowners. Public workshops, charettes, neighborhood and association meetings, newspaper announcements, mailers, cable television programs and an Internet Web site were used to solicit participation during the plan's two-year evolution process. Implementation calls for more than $50 million in public investment along with an estimated $200 million in private investment over the next 20 years. To date, two properties have received town approval for improvements under the plan's provisions totaling $94 million in private reinvestment.

Comments from the judging panel included the following:

a.. Made an effort to involve all community members. Great outreach to difficult constituency. Effort to reach second homeowners phenomenal!

b.. Extremely comprehensive and long range. Polished document and clear graphics are public-friendly. View corridor evaluation is innovative. Very innovative to have incentives for private redevelopment, given market of Vail, to minimize public expenditures and allow for design review.

The Master Plan was drafted by the consulting firm Design Workshop through a joint funding partnership by the town and Vail Resorts, Inc.

Vail Tomorrow

Launched in 1996, Vail Tomorrow is an ongoing community visioning process that has resulted in identification of 9 core values, 11 goal areas and 40 community-endorsed actions in 6 targeted goal areas. To date, 18 of the 40 actions have been completed; another 22 have been initiated and are currently underway in various stages of completion. Those initiatives have included construction of a temporary skate park on the top deck of the Lionshead parking structure; implementation of the environmental GreenStar certification program; activation of the Lodging Quality Initiative; community facilities planning; and the citizen-based Common Ground plan which calls for 130 acres of additional open space, 4 new parks, 11 affordable housing development and two sites for community facilities within the town's boundaries.

3CMA judges were particularly impressed with the project's strong base of community support as well as an extended outreach to second homeowners. This outreach included meetings in Denver, Chicago and New York, where Vail's highest concentration of second homeowners live. More than 800 people--double the number who voted in the last municipal election--have participated in the process through on-site meetings, newspaper surveys and mail-back surveys.

Vail Tomorrow was initiated by the Vail Community Task Force with funding support from the Town of Vail, Vail Resorts, Inc., and the Vail Valley Foundation.