A grand opening to celebrate completion of the Lionshead Welcome Center and the Lionshead Transit Center will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 31 as a kick off to the summer season. Members of the public are invited to join the Vail Town Council for tours, demonstrations and ribbon cuttings, scheduled for 5:30 and 6 p.m., respectively. Refreshments will also be provided.
The celebration begins at the Lionshead Transit Center along the South Frontage Road on the north side of the parking structure where dignitaries will gather for the first ribbon cutting at 5:30 p.m. Representatives from the Federal Transit Administration and Colorado Association of Transit Agencies will join members of the Town Council and community to mark the building’s official opening. Funded in part by a $5 million federal transportation grant, the facility serves as a regional bus stop for ECO Transit and will also be used by Vail Transit for express service to Ford Park during major events.
The second ribbon cutting will take place at 6 p.m. to mark the official opening of the Lionshead Welcome Center, which is located on the south side of the parking structure at the main entry to Lionshead. The building features three distinct functions on three levels. The ground floor contains a one-stop shop for guests with concierge services, displays, a day lodge, restrooms, lockers and a giant media screen showcasing examples of Vail’s recreation and cultural offerings. The Vail Recreation District occupies the second level with daily programming for adults and children, including the new and improved Imagination Station. The third level contains The Grand View community space which is available for bookings year-round beginning in June.
Community members are encouraged to bring the family to tour the new facilities and to enjoy a sampling of free activities offered by the Vail Recreation District. Imagination Station will be open and the VRD staff will be on hand to offer some basic science activities for the kids while yoga and TRX suspension training will be available for adults.
Also included in the grand opening will be an appearance by artist Michael Krondl who created the Art in Public Places mural, “Variation in Silver and White,” on the west side of the parking structure as part of the Welcome Center project. The mural captures the unmistakable blue sky and beauty of the Gore Range and is AIPP’s newest art installation.
The Welcome and Transit Centers are the first of the town’s projects to be funded by $11.9 million in bonds issued by the Vail Reinvestment Authority in 2010. Repayment of the bonds will occur through revenue generated within the Lionshead tax-increment financing district. Since its creation the authority has generated nearly $8.2 million in incremental property taxes from new construction within the district. Other projects that are being funded by the bond proceeds include renovation of the Vail Public Library and streetscape improvements on the east and west sides of the entries to Lionshead. Reconstruction of Sundial Plaza in the Lionshead Mall will also take place in a future phase.
Vail Mayor Andy Daly says the new buildings are a tribute to Vail’s earlier leaders who laid the groundwork for Lionshead’s redevelopment. “From adoption of the Lionshead Redevelopment Master Plan in 1999 to creation of the Vail Reinvestment Authority in 2003 and the Lionshead Tax Increment Financing District in 2005, the vision that has taken place to see these projects come to fruition is truly amazing,” he said. “It’s an honor to invite the community join together with us to celebrate these significant accomplishments.”