Civic Area Plan Concepts to be Reviewed at August 20 Town Council Meeting

  • 19 August 2019
Civic Area Plan Concepts to be Reviewed at August 20 Town Council Meeting

The Vail Town Council will review an update of the Civic Area Plan during its afternoon meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 20. The item is listed as 6.2 on the meeting agenda with the discussion taking place at approximately 3 p.m. in the Vail Town Council Chambers.

Tuesday’s presentation will be the eighth update by the consultant team since the long-range planning project was initiated last December. 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 meeting, the Town Council will review an overview of the master plan document, a summary of the most recent community engagement activities, future possibilities and considerations identified for each of the study sites, and next steps.

To build upon the community’s interest in improving public spaces and connectivity, the plan identifies town-owned sites west of the Municipal Building as the “Civic Hub” and offers various options for future improvements as well as redevelopment possibilities for the Municipal Building site.

Three approaches have been studied to enhance the major Civic Hub spaces by combining sites to the greatest extent possible:

  • Option 1 includes a new Dobson Ice Arena with a modest expansion to include other programming with ice as the primary utilization; multi-purpose events center; community/performing arts space; community space or Town Hall; and public space.
  • Option 2 includes a new Dobson Ice Arena with a major expansion to function as an events center with the events as the primary utilization, plus a utilitarian dedicated second ice sheet; community/performing arts space; community space or Town Hall; and public space.
  • Option 3 includes a major renovation to Dobson Ice Arena with ice as primary utilization; multi-purpose events center; community/performing arts space; private development at charter bus lot; and public space.
    Recommended next steps to be included in the plan include a detailed market and economic analysis to help define desired programming as well as design studies, pricing and a funding strategy.

The plan also provides options for future improvements to the remainder of the Civic Hub spaces, including the library, the south side of the parking structure and a town-owned parcel, lot 10, located east of Dobson Arena.

Possibilities for the Municipal Building site include: replacing town hall, creating a public-private development opportunity, adding housing or other development on west side and adding a shared event/auditorium space with the Council Chambers. Suggested next steps for this site include defining the highest and best use to determine the best location for town hall, preliminary design studies to determine development potential and exploring public-private partnership opportunities.

Following Tuesday’s discussion, the project team will incorporate feedback from the Town Council into additional refinements in preparation for an update to the Planning and Environmental Commission on Aug. 26. The plan will be released in full on Sept. 16 followed by formal review by the PEC in mid-September with recommendations forwarded to the Town Council for consideration and adoption in the October-November timeframe.

To view the Civic Area Plan staff memo and consultant presentation for the Aug. 20 meeting, click here or go to to take a quick survey before it closes on Aug. 22.To comment in advance of Tuesday’s meeting, email

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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