Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Better Access to Breckenridge Town Council Work Sessions

Public access to Town of Breckenridge work sessions could be enhanced as town council recently gave the nod to recording the informal discussions where council members hash out ideas, review financial data and make suggestions to staff.

“I'm just really pleased,” Councilman Dave Rossi said. “It's a big win for the community — because a lot of people just want to know that we're accountable. They want to know how decisions get made.”
The town's official meetings that occur in the evening are always recorded on digital audio, and the public can come in and listen to the recordings or purchase copies on compact disc for $15, according to town clerk MJ Loufek.

While the full council on Tuesday was in favor of recording the work sessions, town spokeswoman Kim DiLallo said Friday that “nothing has been finalized.”
The matter is expected to be back before council in the coming weeks. The work sessions usually begin at 3 p.m. on the day of the official meeting, but attendance is often slim.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Frisco Main Street Re-Design

By approving the “Step Up Main Street” master plan this week, the Town of Frisco is one step closer to upgrading its main drag despite numerous financial unknowns.

Construction on Main Street however may be slow going — based on a poor economy, the town tentatively plans to break ground in 2012 instead of 2011.

According to town planner Jocelyn Mills, the project's next step will be converting the master plan into construction documents and determining actual costs. This was initially set for 2010, but it's now being pushed back to next year.

“Due to public comment, we will look at zoning codes to encourage redevelopment on private property to go hand in hand with the Main Street redesign,” Mills said. “Staff will be working on that this year.”

Master plan designer Mary Hart presented a pedestrian-friendly main drag to council and staff Tuesday, complete with tree lanes next to side walks, pocket parks, a pedestrian corridor by Third Avenue and public art. An upgraded option for a welcome sign to welcome visitors from Highway 9 to Main Street was also created.

Hart's redesign includes historic simple forms, a mountain-rustic look and natural materials. She suggests keeping sidewalks 8-feet-wide, and then creating a tree/amenity lane to the right of it to make the street-scape more interesting. The tree/amenity lane could even be used to accommodate tables and seating areas for Main Street eateries.

Both Hart and Mills also stressed the importance of getting visitors to walk the whole length of Main Street, which is currently a problem in town.

“We want to make Frisco memorable for visitors,” Mills said Tuesday.

The Council stressed to Hart and Mills the importance of creating additional parking spaces as the project moves forward. As the plan is purely conceptual at this point, this will be taken into consideration as it's turned into actual construction plans. Potential materials for the redesign project will also be analyzed by the town for cost and durability.

“The council and the town are sensitive to parking, and needs of retail and business on Main Street,” Hart said. “That's something that will continue to be important as the process moves forward.”

Hart added that public input was important to her design from start to finish.

“We tried to balance all the different needs of Main Street to accommodate maintenance, retail, traffic and pedestrians,” Hart said.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Alpine Coaster for Breckenridge

The Breckenridge Planning Commission is on board with a proposed alpine coaster at Breckenridge Ski Resort.

The commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve the project; the plan will go before the Breckenridge Town Council March 23.

“Overall, it was fairly well received as an asset to the town,” Planning Commission chair Rodney Allen said. “We felt it fit into the character of the ski area as another recreational amenity.”

An alpine coaster is similar to an alpine slide, but the sleds run on rails set in a raised track, rather than in a trough. Breckenridge already has an alpine slide. According to Allen, the coaster's potential visual impacts received close scrutiny by the commission.

“There is going to be substantially less visual impact than the current alpine slide, which is out in the open,” Allen said.

The coaster will be located between two ski runs in a healthy stand of trees, comprised of a variety of species. The ski area committed to revegetating the area, should the trees die at some point in the future.

The commissioners also received assurance that the project would be in compliance with the town's outdoor lighting standards.

“There will be lights, but it won't be lit up like a football field,” Allen said.

The ski area could begin construction as early as this summer.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Vail Resorts to Move More Employees to Denver

Vail Resorts is moving about 100 accounting and purchasing positions from the mountains to the Front Range at the end of the ski season.
The company, which owns Keystone and Breckenridge ski areas, notified the employees on Feb. 16 that their positions will be moved to the corporate headquarters in Broomfield, just outside of Boulder. Employees who agree to the move will begin working at their new location on June 2, at the same rate of pay. Those who decide to stay in Summit County will complete their last day of work on June 1.
Vail Resorts spokeswoman Kelly Ladyga said stationing the positions in Broomfield rather than at Keystone, “just made more sense from a business standpoint.”
“After really considering it very carefully, we saw it critical to move those accounting and purchasing functions to be with the rest of accounting down here,” Ladyga said.

The affected employees are mostly entry-level and junior-level accountants and purchasers who serve companywide functions. Most supervisory positions in those departments are already located at the company's Front Range offices.

According to Ladyga, the move will allow for greater oversight, efficiency and collaboration. She also said the company is more easily able to fill accounting vacancies with qualified candidates in the Front Range than in Summit County.

Many of the affected employees toured the Broomfield offices earlier this week. Vail Resorts will provide a relocation benefit to help with moving expenses.