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Civic Area Plan Concepts to be Narrowed, Refined at July 16 Meeting

  • 16 July 2019
Civic Area Plan Concepts to be Narrowed, Refined at July 16 Meeting

A series of key questions are being posed to the Town Council and members of the community that will be used to help frame the next steps in the Vail Civic Area master planning process. The discussions will take place in two sessions during the Tuesday, July 16 Town Council meeting. The first discussion, outlining potential financial considerations, is listed as 2.3 on the afternoon agenda which begins at 1 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers.  The second discussion, to refine and prioritize site-specific concepts, is listed as action item 4 on the evening meeting agenda which begins at 6 p.m. Opportunities for public comment will be offered during both agenda discussions.

Tuesday’s presentation will be the sixth update by the consultant team since the long-range planning project was initiated last December. Most recently, the team has been studying various site configurations based on themes identified through earlier community engagement activities and stakeholder discussions. The town-owned properties in the study area include Dobson Ice Arena, Vail Public Library, Lionshead parking structure, charter bus lot and the Vail municipal building.

During the afternoon session Tuesday, various funding mechanisms will be explored to be included in the master plan to be used for future reference. These include a combination of existing Tax Increment Financing and pay-as-you-go scenarios, as well as potential new revenue sources such as a Downtown Development Authority, land leases, dedicated sales or lodging taxes and more. Potential cost estimates presented previously range from $127 million to $167 million with phasing to occur over time.

To date, the master plan study has identified public and private development opportunities for the charter bus lot and possibilities for development of the municipal site. Concepts presented during earlier discussions have included a multi-use events facility with or without an adjoining hotel, performing arts space, additional parking, plus a rebuild or renovation of Dobson Arena, a second sheet of ice, a new municipal building, the addition of a second floor to the library and a pocket park on a town-owned parcel east of Dobson Arena, known as Lot 10. 

During Tuesday’s evening session, the consultant team will pose key questions to help narrow and prioritize the site plan concepts that have been formulated to date. The discussion will focus on the location and programming associated with a multi-purpose community center, a future vision for Dobson Ice Arena as well as potential opportunities for relocation of the South Frontage Road.

Specifically, the discussion considerations have been framed as follows:

Multi-Purpose Events Facility
  • How would a Multi-Purpose Events Facility fit into the Civic Area?
  • What are the programming components of this facility that will leverage community and resort opportunities?
  • Where will it be located? (Charter bus lot or municipal site)
  • How will it be structured? (public-private partnership, town-funded)
Dobson Ice Arena
  • What is the future role of Dobson Ice Arena?
  • Is this facility predominantly ice with limited event use?
  • Is this facility predominantly ice with additional recreation use?
  • Is this facility ice and sized to accommodate special events/concerts?
Second Sheet of Ice
  • A second sheet of ice identified in the plan?
  • Are there other recreation uses to be incorporated in the Civic Area Plan?
South Frontage Road
  • Should the plan contemplate a realignment of South Frontage Road?

Following Tuesday’s discussion, the project team will incorporate feedback from the Town Council into additional refinements in preparation for an update at the Aug. 6 meeting. From there, another phase of public engagement activities will take place through the online site as well as “pop-up” outreach events and stakeholder focus groups. A final draft plan is tentatively scheduled to be released in late summer with formal review by the Planning and Environmental Commission scheduled to occur in this fall. 

Click to view the Civic Area Plan consultant presentation for the afternoon or evening meeting or visit To comment in advance of Tuesday’s meeting, email the project team at or

The Civic Area planning process is being guided by a multi-disciplinary Colorado-based consultant group with representation from 4240 Architects, Braun Associates, Inc., Russell Mills Studio, Trestle Strategy Group and Economic & Planning Systems. The team was selected for its expertise in citizen engagement, urban planning, urban design and economic planning.

Completion of the Civic Area Plan has been identified as a high priority by the Vail Town Council. Upon adoption, the plan will provide guidance on future decision-making, funding and implementation of improvements to the Civic Area.

To provide additional structure to the planning process, the following goals have been adopted:

  • Identify the community's opinions of how to best utilize the land within the defined study area for the Civic Area Plan; 
  • Evaluate and comprehend the issues, opportunities and constraints that will influence the development of the Civic Area, including the identification of potential highest and best uses;
  • Prepare a plan that is viable, is reflective of the community’s goals, is economically feasible in terms of market considerations and is responsive to the site and the surrounding neighborhoods, and;
  • Define strategies to guide future decision-making and the implementation of improvements to the Civic Area that will establish vibrant, aesthetically pleasing and thoughtfully designed places that will serve the needs of the local community and guests.

The majority of the study area is contained within a Tax Increment Finance District, established in 2005, and represents the last phase of a planning effort that has included adoption of the Lionshead Redevelopment Master Plan in 1998 and related TIF-funded improvements to include construction of a new transit center and welcome center, plus streetscape improvements, remodel of the library, guest service enhancements, reconstruction of the Lionshead parking entry and construction of the Zeke M. Pierce Skatepark. Most recently, TIF funds have been used to fund the town’s portion of the Sandstone Underpass. The TIF district will expire in 2030 in accordance with state law following a 25-year collection period. The TIF money is available to secure bonding for future projects in the district at the direction of the Vail Town Council sitting as the Vail Reinvestment Authority.  

For more information, contact Matt Gennett, community development director, at 970-479-2146 or email


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