Vail’s new fountain draws ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ |

Vail’s new fountain draws ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’

Melanie Wong
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyThe Chieppe family from Brazil stop to watch the water and fire display from the new Seibert Circle Fountain in Vail Village.

VAIL, Colo. ” Onlookers stared, snapped photos and “ahh”-ed appreciatively at Vail Village’s Seibert Circle fountain ” exactly the reaction designers and planners of Vail’s newest water spectacle were looking for.

“That’s so cool,” breathed a passing snowboarder, staring at the shooting streams of water and the burst of fire from the middle of the fountain.

Town of Vail officials, donors and spectators gathered at the top of Bridge Street Thursday evening to mark the completion of the fountain, which has been in the works for over two years.

“It’s the newest postcard image in our town,” said Todd Oppenheimer, the town’s project manager for the fountain. “It really does make people smile.”

The fountain will operate daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. when wind and other conditions permit. The arcs of water shooting gracefully across the pool represent the mountains, the water that cascades over one edge represents streams, and the blue-tinged flames that ignite from the center in the evening represent a campfire or hearth.

The fountain replaces a sculpture by Jesus Moroles, which some town leaders did not think fit in with the village’s Bavarian style. Los Angeles-based WET Design, whose other works include the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas and the Cauldron at the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics, created the water-and-fire feature.

“(The town) decided they wanted something a little more exciting, something that would make people want to stay here,” Mayor Dick Cleveland said.

The fountain cost $1.5 million to build and was part of the town’s $19 million streetscape improvements for the village, which began in 2004. However, construction of the fountain was plagued by leaks and technical difficulties, and it was not fully operational until early December.

The fountain was also funded by Vail Resorts, which contributed $225,000 as part of its public art commitment from the Mountain Plaza development, and Triumph Development, which contributed $20,000 in relation to a public art commitment for the Willows. A private funding campaign led by Vail residents Alan Kosloff and Ron Riley brought in an additional $118,000 from 37 contributors.

Pete Seibert Jr., whose late father the plaza was named in honor of, said has enjoyed watching the water and fire displays.

“This is something my dad would be happy with,” Seibert said. “I know my dad would love this.”

The fountain’s different cycles, which spout the water in different formations, kept spectators wondering what they would see next.

“It’s like fireworks,” said Vail resident Summer Holm. “I think it’s very cool. It give us a little culture. Vail got the art right.”

Michaela Cassidy, of San Francisco, a frequent Vail visitor, said she thinks the fountain is a big improvement to the village.

“This is more fun and will really help revitalize Seibert Circle,” she said.

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