Plan for a Keystone freestyle center is all about location, location, location
Vail Resorts, in conjunction with a private organization, announced its plan to convert the Keystone Tennis Center and adjoining property into a full-time youth-orientated recreational facility.
This plan would create both an indoor freestyle training facility and an outdoor activity center. The fact the tennis courts are idle and the tennis center building is an eyesore can’t be argued. It’s prime real estate begging for productive use, but the proposal doesn’t fit the location.
The proposal presents issues that should be of concern for everyone associated with Keystone.
First, the plan will change forever the use and appearance of the tennis center, and as a result the front door impression of Keystone.
Do Vail Resorts and Keystone residents really want to have an amusement park image and atmosphere at the resort entrance? It certainly will do this if it is located at Highway 6 and Tennis Club Road.
Second, given the amount of lapsed time between the closure of the tennis center in May and Vail Resorts’ announcement of the new plan, it is very disappointing there has been no voluntary communication by the Vail Resorts with the Quicksilver and the Tennis Townhouse owners who are the most impacted by the proposal.
This is uncharacteristic communicative behavior by Vail Resorts because its plans for developing other areas of Keystone have been openly communicated and solicited owner consultation.
For example, witness the joint planning for redeveloping Keystone Village. Therefore, one has to question the motive for this particular corporate silence regarding the Tennis Center.
The plan causes serious anxieties for the Quicksilver and Tennis Townhouse property owners whose units immediately adjoin the tennis center campus.
It seems that Vail Resorts wants to redirect youth-orientated activities such as skateboarding and other outdoor noise creating activities away from River Run, which is fine for River Run residents, but why at the environmental expense of residents of old Keystone?
We who have raised teen-agers and young adults have sufficient credentials to express serious concerns about the impact of having a seven-day, 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. concentration of teen-agers and young adults adjacent to residential properties.
The validity of these anxieties becomes more evident with each passing day since the Aug. 6 announcement in that no other Keystone homeowner associations are clamoring to have these amusement park activities near them.
Individuals and organizations that have spoken in favor of the freestyle center won’t have to contend with its associated environmental disruption. It is unfair to collect and deposit all of these disruptive activities in a densely populated residential area.
The environmental consequences include significantly increased outdoor noise levels, outdoor pole lighting, a 65-foot-high tower, expanded commercial space and traffic at Highway 6 and Tennis Club Road, chainlink fencing and increased building heights.
Additional disruptive issues are automobile and pedestrian access and congestion, inadequate and uncontrolled parking, insufficient tennis courts (only two of the current 12 courts will remain available) and the consequences of after-hour, teen-ager loitering.
I have several suggestions for the Snake River Planning Commission, the Board of County Commissioners and Vail Resorts.
First, before approving the freestyle center, establish an advisory group of Quicksilver and Tennis Townhouse owners, as well as other Keystone association representatives, to work with Vail Resorts as it pursues the redevelopment.
Community partnership usually produces a superior community result.
Second, examine the comparability of the planning models used by Vail Resorts for what is being proposed. For example, the Pennsylvania site that Vail Resorts uses as a model is not in a populated area and encompasses 80-plus acres. This compares to two acres at the tennis center that is in a densely populated area.
Third, ask Vail Resorts to evaluate other Keystone sites, most especially for the proposed outdoor activity center, to avoid or certainly to minimize the environmental impact upon old Keystone.
Professionals who are selected jointly by the advisory group and Vail Resorts should do this study.
Finally, request binding and long-term financial commitments from both Vail Resorts and the involved private sponsor to ensure environmental safeguards remain available over the ensuring years.
The Snake River Planning Commission, the Board of County Commissioners and Vail Resorts all now have the opportunity to show their respective reasonableness, sensitivity and community leadership by involving Keystone property owners in the planning process applicable to the redevelopment of the tennis center.
Such a partnership will be powerful and will benefit all of Keystone.
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