Mountain Village Merchants Meeting Notes 2/8/17
In an effort to keep all Mountain Village Merchants better informed, we will be sharing the meeting notes from each monthly meeting on an ongoing basis.
Merchants Association Meeting 2/8/17 @ 2:00 p.m. TMVOA
Present: Jeff Badger- Chairman & TMVOA Commercial Director, John Carter- Madeline, Heidi Stenhammer – TMVOA, Barkley – Ski Butlers, John – Bootdoctors, Laila Benitez – TMV Council, Laurel Robinson – Wine Festival, Carmela – La Piazza, Deanna Drew – Town of Mountain Village, Matt Windt – TSG, Steve Togni – Mountain Lodge
The meeting was called to order at 2:02 p.m. on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 in the TMVOA conference room.
Wine Festival – Toast of Mountain Village June 22-25, 2017 (Laurel Robinson)
Laurel gave a brief overview of the history of the Wine Festival which first started in Telluride in 1993. She has researched other wine festivals throughout the country to try and improve upon the current festival. It was always the objective of the wine festival to include events in Mountain Village and TMVOA has been the featured sponsor of the Grand Tasting which started out in the conference center and then moved to tents outside because people complained about being indoors. This year the Grand Tasting will be entirely in Town Park.
Laurel explained that she would like to have a Toast of the Towns on Thursday night that would start out in Telluride and then move up to Mountain Village however she needs the support of the Mountain Village Merchants for it to be successful. The Festival would provide the wine or spirits and participating Merchants would provide the ambiance and appetizers. She anticipates a 20% increase in the 700 tickets that were sold to the Toast last year. She also envisions the event culminating with a concert in Heritage Plaza or Sunset Plaza. All Merchants in attendance agreed that it would be great to have the Toast end in Mountain Village and they would do what they could to support the event. A communication on behalf of the Wine Festival will be distributed to all Mountain Village merchants to request and secure participation in the Toast of the Towns.
Bringing the Grand Tasting back up to Mountain Village was discussed. The tasting could be spread throughout Mountain Village with a different country’s wines featured in each plaza. There would be tents placed throughout the plazas which would help move visitors throughout the core.
TSG Updates – Matt Windt
· TSG business is doing well should end the season strong.
· TSG plans to continue with the construction of summer activities to include new, flow bike trails and an aerial zip line for canopy tours. These new activities will be under construction this summer and ready for use the summer of 2018. Deanna noted that TMV will work closely with TSG to ensure that the portals are open and the signage is seamless.
· TSG anticipates that the newly expanded practice facility at the Golf Course should be open by July 4th.
· Winter 2017/2018 operating season dates are the day before Thanksgiving as usual and closing day a week later than normal on April 8th.
· TSG is working to bring the Kellogg School of Business here in December and could bring upwards of 800 people.
· Representatives from TSG and some Lodgers will be headed to Vancouver later this month to attend the Young Presidents Organization’s Edge Conference in Vancouver. This conference will provide excellent exposure to many high net worth individuals who could potentially select Telluride for their 8-10-person forum groups. It will be critical for the groups who choose to visit Telluride to have an excellent level of service and amazing first impression while they are here as the organization relies very heavily on word of mouth referrals.
· TSG continues to work on a wayfinding app that will be updated and maintained by an external source. He will connect with TMV to ensure efforts and resources are not duplicated.
· The issue of a current comprehensive map of both towns was raised and it was determined that this is more of a TTB initiative.
· The Friday of President’s weekend, TSG will launch a new incentive through the end of the ski season. Anyone with valid ID and their own boarding pass for that current day will get a free lift ticket for the remainder of that same day. There are some early flights offered now where guests can get here by 12:30. Those guests would typically not ski on arrival day and now they will be able to at no cost. This program should also help reduce the early-morning lift ticket lines.
TMV Updates – Deanna Drew
· TMV has hired a new marketing director, Bill Kight who will replace Nichole Zangara and will start on Feb 20th. Bill will attend the next Merchants Association meeting.
· Reports have been surfacing of complaints regarding Fire Festival and the food and drink vendors that were allowed in Heritage Plaza. It was noted that these vendors were approved by TMV although it was a late addition to their original application. However, if Merchants do not want festival vendors in the future, TMV will reconsider the approval process.
· Market on the Plaza will be back again this summer over 10 Wednesdays.
· There is a large snow melt project planned for Sunset Plaza starting on April 3rd and ending before July 4th. The project is obviously weather dependent and the plan is to have all the merchant entry points available by the beginning of the summer season.
· TMV is planning to install café lights over Sunset Plaza as well to brighten up the area. The two planters in the middle of the plaza and the wayfinding sign will be removed to open views to the Sunset Concert stage.
· The vertical banner poles in Conference Center Plaza can be used for advertising events that are recurring throughout the summer. There are seven poles that can hold a double-sided banner. Ideas on content and design for those banners is welcome and the desire is to have them installed by Memorial Day.
· Gay Ski Week has announced that their main sponsor is Maserati and they will be unveiling its new SUV at the event and offering test drives to the public out of the Blue Mesa lot during the event.
· Other events on the horizon are the Red Ball fundraiser on the mountain, the TASP fundraiser party at TCC, the Telluride Academy snowshoe party and the closing day party.
· The Telluride Box Canyon Running Series will bring a new race event to Mountain Village over Memorial weekend that will start and finish in Heritage Plaza.
· Off season activities will include random paver repairs and other miscellaneous repairs. Merchants should notify TMV if they notice anything that needs fixing.
· A new fire pit has been installed in Heritage Plaza.
· There are four available spaces for vending carts in Heritage Plaza, three of which are currently filled for the winter season. There is interest in the fourth spot by a vendor who makes churros. The crepe cart may have a presence in Heritage Plaza this summer as well.
· The Village Pond has turned into a sediment trap and it’s TMV’s vision to deepen it and if possible, keep fish in it with an ADA accessible boardwalk.
· The wayfinding program is progressing.
· TMV is continuing to run environmental programs in 2017 to include water conservation, defensible space, solar incentives, etc.
New Business / Other Business
A discussion ensued regarding the possibility of purchasing and placing a solar-panel powered, portable gazebo in the center of Heritage Plaza to create a focal point for musicians and other performers. The gazebo could be moved to the other plazas to change up the venues and help with traffic flow. Deanna commented that TMV would probably view this as a special event application and would work with everyone involved to help move the process along.
Anton commented that TMVOA’s Finance, Audit and Budget committee (of which Jeff Badger is now a member) met yesterday and discussed the Wednesday night Sunset Concert Series. They would like to see that event continue however they are interested in creating vibrancy in the core seven days per week which will focus around music. He noted that a special meeting of the merchants will be held soon to brain storm and determine additional ways to increase vibrancy. Activities that were popular last summer were the movie series in Reflection Plaza and the Sunday morning hikes. Jeff commented that these vibrancy initiatives need to be compelling and unique, not just background music. Other ideas included a Young Peoples Theatre and an open mic night.
Jeff commented that Sweethearts Week has been relatively unsuccessful the past two years and, unless there are outstanding results from this year, recommended it be discontinued. All present agreed.
Village Core Tram
Jeff raised the recurring issue of the desire to have a village tram running throughout the plazas to transport guests and help quickly orientate them with the village as well as offer exposure to areas they might not otherwise visit. Deanna commented that there was resistance to this idea in the past because each hotel wanted their own transport car. The idea of having one, centralized transportation system would be more desirable. Jeff noted that Dial A Ride is well-managed and could potentially manage this service. Anton commented that Dial A Ride is at max capacity with its current service however, he will roll this initiative into the village vibrancy plan as one element, including its associated costs, hours of operations, etc. and present it to the TMVOA Board of Directors for consideration.
A discussion ensued regarding the recent announcement by TMV to require all VCA occupants, 18 years and older, to provide documentation of legal US residency at their upcoming lease renewal, most of which occur in August. Deanna noted that this law has been in effect since 2006 and, while TMV was enforcing it for a while, there was a lapse in VCA administration so the lease requirement was inadvertently overlooked. If TMV is found by the Federal Government to not be enforcing this law, then a significant amount of Federal funding will be lost for VCA.
Laila commented that this is the same policy in place at all deed restricted housing in Telluride and Shandoka. It does not apply to deed restricted housing in Mountain Village. Steve commented that the messaging was not delivered well and caused a lot of panic amongst VCA occupants and local business owners. Additionally, the issue of affordable housing has been ongoing for many years with little to no action. Laila noted that developing additional employee housing units is a very time consuming process. There is a 45-unit project in the Meadows that is being reviewed and the addition of 38-58 units at VCA. TMV is doing everything in its power to move these projects along and encourages any concerned merchants to attend council meetings and/or write letters to all council members frequently. Town Council currently has an affordable housing committee with consultants to help with this critical issue. Anton noted that he will take this message from the Merchants to the next council meeting and make a statement on behalf of everyone regarding the employee housing issue.
Jeff noted that one of the issues is that there does not exist ideal parcels of land upon which to build affordable housing units. TMVOA, TSG and TMV are working on partnerships with other land owners to obtain larger parcels of land. Anton added that employee housing projects don’t “pencil” with developers or show the ability to generate a positive cash flow because it’s so expensive to build in Telluride so any project would need to be significantly subsidized.
Steve noted that Mountain Lodge was approved without one deed restricted unit and without below grade parking which should have never been allowed. In his opinion, the developer of Mountain Lodge and all the regulators failed and those entities who created these problems should be responsible for subsidizing affordable housing. He called for a contingency of passionate advocates on the issue.
Early Gondola Start Time
Anton asked the group for feedback regarding the 6:30 am start time for the Gondola. Barclay commented that it has been a big benefit to his Ski Butlers business and employees. Other Merchants commented that they have been able to hire more employees and positively change their schedules because of the change. All present agreed that this earlier start time should continue throughout the entire ski season.
Jeff encouraged all merchants to have more activities and promotions going on during Spring Break. TSG will continue its annual pond skim tradition with an early ski area closing time and a concert in Heritage Plaza.
Next Meeting Date and Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 3:30. The next Merchants meeting will be held on March 8th at 2pm in the TMVOA Conference Room.
Posted on 2017-02-14