Breckenridge, Vail Resorts bungling parking problem (letter)
I was both fascinated and disgusted by the two guest columns on the parking structure debate in Breckenridge. Reading them makes one think that we have our own local version of spin doctors and political deadlock. Gary Shimanowitz of Vail Resorts reminds me of the pot calling the kettle black. Just how much has Vail raised ticket and lesson prices in the last 6-8 years? And how much has Vail pushed the boundaries of monopoly with their size and legal harassment – remember what used to be the best restaurant on the mountain? Not to mention their attempts to control every revenue stream from transportation to lodging to restaurants to ski shops. Thank goodness that they’re relatively inept at small business so that the small businesses that built Breckenridge can usually survive just by offering better service. I’m glad I’ll probably be retired before the final shoe drops when Vail builds (and controls) all the retail space in whatever monstrosity the town lets them get away with building around the gondola. Does anyone else think the town was a better place when Art Bowles was strictly in the “uphill transportation business”? Please spare us the lecture about “how to protect our guest” Mr. Shimanowitz.
Listening to Tim Gagen whine about money is just about as insulting. If nothing else, the new Great Wall of Breckenridge at the town’s south entrance justifies Mr. Schimanowitz’s assertion that the town has more money than it should. Remember when the town wanted to raise property taxes because they didn’t have the stomach to trim staff – when the rest of us not only had to trim staff but also skip paychecks to keep the doors open? Remind me, how much did the new Community Center run over budget? And where did that money come from? And how much does the town spend to fund a defined benefit pension plan that the rest of us can only dream about? Please spare us the tears Mr. Gagen. And don’t hide behind the town’s wish list.
Guess what guys? Breckenridge has a parking problem. Vail Resorts, if you want to continue to raise ticket and lesson prices unencumbered by a SMUT tax, it’s time to put what percentage of the cost of a parking structure you’ll willing to pay on the table. Town of Breckenridge, get off your high horse. Mr. Shimanowitz is right about one thing. Vail Resorts’ design and management of major infrastructure projects far exceeds yours. There could be a win-win solution if people are willing to think outside the box. But you guys’ pathetic posturing is going to make it a lose-lose. Breckenridge is not Washington D.C. Some of us expect better.
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